8 Very important questions you need to ask yourself before moving overseas
Moving house is a big deal. Moving to a new city is a bigger deal. But moving to an entirely new country, where the languages are foreign, the laws are different and everything is just unfamiliar territory is a completely new ball game. If you don't have all your bases covered, a financial safety net and some kind of contingency plan, things could go pear-shaped very fast.
Here are 8 important questions you should ask yourself before you make the leap.
1. Do you have sufficient funds?
It's advisable to have a substantial amount of savings and cash to support your journey, as well as emergency funds in case something unexpected pops up. The last thing you want is to be stranded in a foreign country with no money and no connections, and only a great deal of anxiety keeping you company. That only addresses post-arrival. There's also funding the movers, flights, temporary accomodation, all the legal paperwork and necessary documentation required and so on. Have a comfortable foundation to cover you for at least a few months.
2. What are your career plans, or means of paying the bills?
Some people only move country with a job secured, and the rest jump boldly into the unknown. If you are the latter, and you don't have much of a planned timeline regarding your career, then you might have to work odd jobs to make ends meet while discovering what you really want. This can mean anything from working in retail, customer service or a gas station - and can look nothing like the degree you studied hard for or the industry you were a respected professional in back home. Just remember, it's a transition period, and you need to be flexible while finding your feet.
3. Where will you stay?
Research the country thoroughly before you go. While reading reviews and looking at pictures of a place online is very different to reality, it's good practice to form an idea of what you're getting yourself into. It's also a good idea to rent before you buy, so you can get a good feel of a suburb and surrounding areas. You'll also be able to have a chat with the locals, and suss out the community. It will soon become clear if you want to stay in that area or find somewhere else more suited to you.
4. What is your time frame?
It might feel uncomfortable to think that things may not work out the way you'd like them to, and that each month comes with a budget and goal. When you are in a foreign country, the clock ticks faster. You should set some goals of what you want to achieve within a time frame, so you don't get overwhelmed. Make a list of all the most urgent priorities such as where you will live, documentation, enrolling children into schools, and go from there.
5. Is there a Plan B?
There should always be one even if it seems pessimistic and a tad embarrassing. Don't rule out the fact that life is full of surprises, and will surprise you. Things can happen back home, you might not have found a suitable job by the deadline you set for yourself and funds may be diminishing at aggressive rates. The kids could also be miserably homesick. It's best to keep a Plan B handy, just in case your life has to take another turn.
6. Do you have health conditions that will be affected by the local climate?
People who relocate to new countries might not have considered just how different the climate can be. For those with hay fever or asthma, some cities are more pollen-infested and polluted than others, and can greatly affect the quality of life. Eczema sufferers have a difficult time in certain countries, as factors such as heat, humidity and sunlight can trigger flare-ups. Research the experiences of other people, the climate and if in doubt, consult your doctor.
7. On a scale of 1 to crying every night, how homesick do you get?
This is an critical question, because as much as one might want to be adventurous and leave home, the roots are far planted too deep. For some, family, friends, community and comfort is everything, and extracting oneself from that can cause serious unhappiness. Perhaps giving it a trial run by moving to another city might be a good idea, before investing a chunk of cash into a major long term move. And how will other members of your family take the move? If too much is at loss, maybe you should reconsider for a later date in the future.
8. Are you ready for whatever it takes?
It may seem a tad dramatic to ask this final question to yourself, but when you throw yourself into a completely new country, you are going to have to be tough. Everything from the different foods available, the toilets, the weather, finding a job and making new friends can all add up to be rather challenging and inconvenient but it won't kill you. You will adapt, and gradually settle in your new home country.
Now that you've been briefed with everything that's coming your way, book your flights. Pack your bags. Call your removalists, and bon voyage!