Moving Overseas – Establishing your Home Overseas

Moving Overseas logoIn this series, Moving Overseas, I will share my experiences living and working overseas, sharing the lessons I’ve learnt to make your move less stressful.

‘What am I doing on this plane?’

‘Why did I leave behind my home to live in a foreign country?’

The anticipation can overcome some people during the flight but if you did your research and selected a country that is right for your situation you are ready for the adventure. Kick off your shoes, grab a complimentary beverage from the flight attendant and relax, there is still a little work to do at the end.

Finding a Home. Some companies provide employees accommodation but most of us have to hit the streets and find a place to call home for our stay overseas. Tim Ferriss recommends taking a few weeks to get to know the city before you settle on a neighbourhood and a longer lease. Good advice but you also need to find a good agent to help sift through the options and especially the paperwork, remembering you may need to translate the lease before signing.

Your new co-workers are an excellent source of information and advice about the most livable areas but ensure you understand their situation before using their advice. The hipster single cruising bars every night might love living in the club district but your wife and kids may not be as enthused about the club scene.

Schools. English language schools are available in most countries but your choices may be limited. Young kids are capable of learning languages quickly, and I would not discount sending your child to a local school to be immersed in the culture. Of course, if you chose a country that speaks your mother tongue, the school choices are unlimited within the local zoning rules. Consider schools when looking for a home.

When in Rome. The biggest mistake people make when they move overseas is to try live their lives exactly the same way they did back in the old country. When I lived in Malaysia, we ate the local food and adjusted our habits to take advantage of the local conditions to minimise costs but some people would not adjust their steak and potatoes diet. Those families usually did not enjoy their time in Malaysia because it cost more to live and travel was less affordable.

Did you choose a similar country for your first job overseas?

America and Australia have similar cultures but there are differences that can stress people who insist on retaining the old ways. They go to extraordinary lengths to get their favourite comfort foods instead of finding a new favourite at the supermarket. I enjoy a Tim Tam as much as anyone but an Oreo is good with a cuppa too. You came to experience a new culture, leaving yours behind can make that goal easier to obtain.

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