3 things to know about moving abroad


Having lived in more than one country and having moved from South Africa over to Europe more than a Decade ago and then also living in Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Nice and now Cardiff I know the stress and excitement of moving to another country and thought I'd share with you some of the things you may experience if your thinking of changing location. 

While moving abroad may seem scary enough, you’re going to have a lot on your hands in terms of planning and preparations. You certainly don’t have to do all of this, though, but it will make your life a lot easier if you manage to take care of it before you head off. That way, you can simply relax and enjoy your adventure once you land - or at least have time to spend on being a bit anxious and nervous about everything.

Here is a handful of the most important things you should take care of or look into before saying goodbye to your loved ones back home, plus a few of the things you should know beforehand so that you’re not taken by surprise.

#1 You will be homesick

First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone feels a bit homesick when they move to a foreign country. Because everything that is familiar to you is left behind, and you’re left in a new and strange place without any of the guidelines you used to have, the whole experience can be a bit overwhelming to most of us. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to keep in touch with those you love back home while also immersing yourself in the new culture.

Think about it like this, when you come back home, would you like to look back on a bunch of memories of you sitting cooped up in your room and missing your home country - or would you have preferred it if you made the most of your time abroad? Try to do something new every day, see exciting places, and do your best to focus on the adventure you’re in at the moment. The more you manage to appreciate your current surroundings and remind yourself that your home will wait for you, the easier it is to embrace all the new and strange things without feeling overwhelmed.

Consider learning a bit of the language in the country you’re in, for example, or make some friends that are local to the area. They can show you around and help you to settle in a bit more - and it will feel a lot better when you have something to keep you busy and take your mind off your home country for a while.

#2 There might be a lot of paperwork

While it all depends on the kind of visa you’re looking for, moving abroad is no joke in terms of paperwork. One of the first things you should do before leaving is, of course, to figure out what kind of visa they require - and how long you’re allowed to stay on the different visas. To most of us, a tourist visa is the easiest and most likely option. While you may be able to simply obtain one once you’ve landed, keep in mind that they usually just last between three and six months - and you won’t be allowed to work in the country you’re going to.

There are, luckily, a few options around this as well and you should consider finding a job that you can do from your laptop while staying abroad - or just have a chat with your boss to see if you can keep your job while working remotely abroad. That way, you won’t need to get a work visa and you can still make money in your home country’s currency. It just makes it a bit easier to have money for food and fun while staying abroad.

The most important thing you do before heading off is, in other words, to read up on your visa options and figure out which one you should take in order to stay for as long as possible and not break the law by working unless you’re allowed.

#3 You need a place to live

Finally, a necessary part of moving abroad is to find a decent roof over your head. While most of us think about hostels, hotels, and regular Airbnbs when it comes to staying abroad for a while, this is going to be rather expensive in the long run. Why not just rent a place instead? That way, you’re avoiding the costly tourist accommodations and can spend your hard-earned money on other things.

Keep in mind, however, that a rental will need a bit of attention as well - and it’s not always that easy to know how to set up utilities and make other arrangements when you know absolutely nothing about living in the country. Luckily, a lot of this information is found online these days; just have a look at Singapore utilities, for example, or search for the country you’re heading off to.

If you can’t find anything about it online, you might be able to get in touch with another expat who has moved to the country you’re going to. They are usually more than happy to help out a fellow expat in need so search online on different forums or groups on Facebook to get in touch with someone.

They might even be able to point you in the right direction in terms of where you should live and the best kind of areas; in terms of moving abroad, you should never underestimate the value of advice and help from other expats. Moving abroad, even if it’s just for a short year, means that you have a lot of planning to do. While you don’t really have to do all of this if you prefer to just wing it, it’s going to do wonders for your nerves when you manage to take care of as much as possible.

Being able to land in a new country and have everything set up immediately feels so much better than having to stress around for a place to live during your first week abroad.



  1. Replies
    1. My pleasure Regine, hope you found this useful!

      Laura x

  2. Some really good points, It must be stressful moving to a new country. I always watch Wanted Down Under on TV and I think preparation is key

  3. This is really iseful, I know I'd be so daunted if I was moving abroad, but I'm sure it would all come together. Mich x


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