Moving Abroad – Preparing for the Move

Have you decided to move abroad? What an exciting adventure this will be. You have a lot to look forward to and are harboring some fear as well. Here are a few tips that will help your preparations go smoothly.

Electricity

The most important factor when considering whether to take major household appliances with you is the electricity voltage in the country you are moving to. Although the US has a standard 110 volt outlets, many countries use a combination of 110v and 220v or only 220v. Make sure that any electrical appliances you take will be compatible with your target country’s voltage. You should also be aware that the current is not always as consistent and may have surges or spikes in power. This can sometimes affect the life of electrical equipment.

Cost of Living

If the cost-of-living in the country you are relocating to is lower than where you live now, chances are the quality of goods will be lower than what you are used to as well. Every society has different socio-economic tiers. Even if the standard selection is a lesser quality than you are used to, select stores that cater to the elite class will probably have luxury grade items sold at a premium price. Keep this in mind when deciding which household goods to pack or leave behind. Some of the items that are likely to be affected are: shoes, clothing, linens, furniture and tableware.

Climate

What is the weather like there? Is it rainy, hot and humid or dry as a desert? This is a question you will need to know the answer to before you pack. You should also be aware though, that specific conditions vary greatly from city to city so try to find sources that are specific to your area. Some of the items you could choose to leave behind due to weather conditions include: humidifiers or dehumidifiers, umbrellas, raincoats and boots, blankets, coats, swimwear and beach toys.

Culture

One of the most exciting things about living abroad is being able to experience another culture. You will be able to go to their holiday festivals, try new foods, and meet lots of new people. You also need to be very patient because not all of the cultural differences you see will be favorable. There are likely to be major differences in etiquette, business practices, landlord/tenant practices, and places for recreation, just to name a few. Keep in mind that you are a stranger in a strange place; you don’t want to offend anyone with your reactions.

Language

Even if English is commonly spoken in your new town, there will probably be situations where you need to speak and understand the official language. You can find language-learning resources at your local bookstore, libraries or even online. A few good programs to start with include Berlitz, Rosetta Stone, and Before You Know It. Becoming familiar with some basic vocabulary will be very helpful once you are immersed in your new environment. And, your new friends and neighbors may be so impressed by your effort, that they will help you increase your fluency while you’re there.

Education

Here’s a surprise for you, not every country enjoys free public education. Some countries only allow citizens to enroll in their national schools. Expatriates typically enroll their kids in public schools that teach a curriculum in their native language. As an alternative, you might want to home school while you are abroad. There are several accredited curriculums that you can use to fulfill your home country’s education requirements.

Keeping in Touch

One of the biggest fears you might have while preparing to move far away is losing touch with the friends and family you are leaving behind. It is hard but, with the right intention, you can maintain your relationships very well without being there physically there. Some common ways of keeping in touch include: online social networks such as FaceBook, email messages, VoIP calls, or family websites or blogs. Exchanging care packages is also a great idea, because when you are far from home, receiving a box of everyday goodies will really make your day.

It is our hope that these tips provide valuable information that can help you feel more comfortable about your move abroad. Be sure to get in contact with the local expatriate community in your target country. They have lived through ups and downs and will be more than willing to share their experience for your benefit. And, for your own security, limit the personal details that you share online.