Moving abroad: 7 things to know before you go

Moving abroad: 7 things to know before you go

So you’re planning on moving abroad, well it is indeed a pretty big deal and it can be confronting, cruel but also downright awesome! Before you make that big leap to start a new chapter in your life, make sure to check out these 7 things to know before you go. Take it from someone who has been in your shoes. These can help you with those worries you might have and ease your mind a little in the process.

Research, research, research!

One of the first things you’ll want to research is immigration laws. Checking out the government websites will guide you in the right direction. Get yourself acquainted with all the requirements for moving abroad. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time because this is going to take longer than you think. The whole process of meeting the requirements can be mind-numbing and strenuous so be patient with yourself. Other things you need to research before moving abroad are possible job opportunities, housing and health insurance in your new country of residence.

Collect important documents

Obviously the most important document you will need for moving abroad is indeed a valid passport. If you don’t have one then stop reading now, pull your pants up (for those of you who are reading while on the toilet hiding from their boss) and go take care of it right now! Now that you have your shiny new passport, you have plenty of time to see whether or not you will need a visa or any other important documents for your big move. These documents can range from work contracts to a copy of the lease to your new apartment and anything in between. If love is the reason for your move you could be asked to provide proof of your relationship or provide a copy of your marriage certificate like we did. Tip: keep copies of everything!

Save those pennies!

If you haven’t already started to save money then start now! Moving abroad can be expensive. Especially if there isn’t a job waiting for you, you might be stretching those savings a lot longer than you would like. It’s not just things like the application fees and plane tickets. What about housing and bringing your stuff over? Not to mention some countries ask you to meet certain financial requirements to move there in the first place. So the second you conjure even the idea of moving abroad, make sure you get those finances in order. The more time you give yourself to save, the more the future you will thank you.


Put down the chips and close that laptop because its time for some field work. I am sure you’ve visited your new country, but have you started networking? Now for me it was a little bit easier because my wife already lived here, so I had already established a network through her. If you do not know anyone change that! Get out there, go to the local bars and hang outs. Talk to people, make new friends and get that much needed inside information. Because who knows, Darrel the delivery guy could help with a job or Sven from the bar could be looking for a new tenant. Never underestimate the power of networking!

Prepare yourself

Preparation is key when moving abroad. Give yourself enough time to prepare for your new life. A big thing you can do is learn the language if it’s different from yours. Trust me on this, start early, I am still trying to tackle Dutch. Study the culture even if you think it’s not that different from yours. For instance it’s custom in the Netherlands to congratulate friends and family with someones birthday. As opposed to only wishing a happy birthday to the person whose birthday it is. So make sure to prepare yourself by looking into things like customs and national holidays. Also let’s not forget the mental toll this is going to take on you. Let’s face it, you are going to get homesick at some point. The 4th of July and Thanksgiving are just some of the things that make me miss home.

Moving your belongings

What are you bringing? Be sure to think about the things you really want to bring. Do you really need that lamp or that couch you’ve had since living in mom’s basement? Throw out or donate as much as you can part with because whatever you do bring over will have to be shipped and that adds up quick. Plus shopping abroad for new furniture can be fun!

Prepare your loved ones

Now that you are all prepared for moving abroad, you need to prepare your loved ones too. Leaving family and friends behind is never easy. Luckily in this day and age technology makes it easy to stay in touch. So set nana and papa up with a FaceTime or Skype account and give everyone your new contact info. Maybe even schedule a time to phone home once of month or whenever works for you because life does get in the way. Plan ahead for the next time you will see each other, it is a good incentive to look forward to. All that’s left now is to throw a big shindig, enjoy spending time with your loved ones and say goodbye. 

There you have it, with these 7 things to know before you go, I am confident you are ready to move abroad. If you liked any of these 7 things in particular or have tips of your own, feel free to drop a comment. Happy moving!


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