Moving overseas can change your life in all sorts of ways and can also be an exciting journey to start afresh. You can venture into new opportunities, careers, and lifestyles along with meeting different people that can influence you in many ways.
However, while there are plenty of success stories that come along with migrating to a foreign country such as being granted higher-paying jobs, better security, lower cost of living, or quality education, it’s true that it won’t come easy either.
Whatever your reason is to relocate, it’s important to do in-depth research about the country you desire to live in and their culture. Be in the know of the pros and cons, as well as setting realistic expectations.
Here are a few factors you should consider before moving to a foreign country.
Learning a new language
If you’re planning to permanently settle in a new country, it’s key that you know how to speak and understand their language. Not doing so can make easy tasks challenging, and can also be a barrier to building rapport with the locals.
You can start by cherry-picking some words, phrases, and sentences that you’ll need when going out and meeting people. Imagine real scenarios like shopping at a grocery store, ordering at a restaurant, asking for directions, or as simple as making small talks with someone who can potentially be your new friend.
Along with communicating in a different tongue, you should also know how to read in the language of your host country. This will be helpful, especially when you encounter street signs, restaurant menus, public visuals and guidelines.
Being knowledgeable of social customs
Every country conforms to their own set of social and behavioural norms which may be different from yours. With that in mind, it’s a must that you remain mindful of your actions and words whilst getting familiarised with the social customs in your host country.
For example, in China, giving gifts to colleagues may be frowned upon or be connoted as bribery in the workplace. In Japan, slurping noodles is actually taken as a compliment by the chef, and it shows that you enjoy their food. So by and large, understanding their customs comes with respect—which you can express through letting go of what “you’re used to” and being open to learning and accepting new ones.
Adapting to a new lifestyle
When you move to a new country, expect that not all of the things you love back home will be available there. This can cause you to feel a bit homesick or culture-shocked, but it’s believed to be a normal phase for every migrant.
There will be instances where your comfort food won’t be as easily accessible (unless you make it yourself!), or the activities you enjoy doing back home might be seen as odd or completely banned here.
Having said that, this is an opportunity for you to unleash your inner Indiana Jones, and get out of your comfort zone. It may be challenging at first, but with time, you will grow accustomed to the new lifestyle.
Understanding currencies and exchange rates
Consider yourself lucky if the foreign country you’re moving to has a currency that’s weaker as your transferred money can amount bigger. The exchange rate determines how much foreign currency you get, and the rate may vary depending on the form of exchange you make, whether via cash or card.
Take note that the rates when exchanging cash may not always be in your favour, but it does cost no additional fees and count as an exact exchange rate. Moreso, currency exchange rates can fluctuate constantly which means that tomorrow’s rate may cost more or less than at present.
It’s suggested that newbies in a foreign country create their own written guide to estimate costs conveniently and more accurately. Start by jotting down monetary amounts matched with their foreign currency and keep it anywhere handy. In the long run however this will probably become less of an issue as you get used to it and you’ll mostly likely be earning in those local dollars.
The above list is by no means exhaustive and everything said and done – moving to a foreign country is a serious decision. It’s also very exciting and we get it. If you would like someone to watch your back during this process, Transform Borders is here for you. Feel free to send your questions, comments, or requests to us by sending us an email. Stay tuned for more updates from our team at Transform Borders!