How ready are you for an expat adventure?

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Published 2019-10-07 12:59

Have you been offered a job abroad? Do you feel the need to get out of your daily routine? Do you dream of going away? But are you really ready to leave everything behind and move abroad? Here are five questions you need to ask yourself to find out...

Are you well informed about your destination?

To avoid disappointment and problems, it is essential to learn about your expat destination before departure. The first step is to find out about the living conditions in the country you are interested in. These living conditions also depend on why and how you are planning to settle in your new country. The quality of life in the said country will be of different significance to someone who leaves with a backpack and a simple tourist visa and to the one who already has an employment contract and a network on ground who would be able to help him out.

You must also learn about the health situation in your host country. You will probably need to get an insurance and, depending on the destination, to get vaccinated against certain tropical diseases.

Working relationships, climate, gender relations, food, education, and recreation are other elements that can be important to enquire about before departure to find out what to expect. Of course, one can just choose to trust their instincts and leave going through too intense research...

Do you have enough money?

Money can be a decisive factor when one is thinking about settling abroad. The budget you will need depends on several factors such as the cost of living at your destination, but also your own consumption habits. If you are willing to settle for local food and don’t mind cohabitation then your budget needs will be much lower than if you want to live in a luxurious place and you do not want to limit yourself to the level of the outings and leisure.

Before you leave, the least you can do is take the time to check how much you will have to spend on accommodation and food during your stay, especially if you have not found a job yet. It can also be useful to provide a small amount that will be released in case of hardship or a health problem.

How ready are you to give up your comfort?

It is important to know that moving to a new country can be an overwhelming experience. Of course, the cultural shock will be more or less intense depending on the destination, however, no expat is immune to the infamous expat blues! You must be aware that expatriation will require that you leave your comfort zone and that you are ready to make efforts to integrate. If you know that your future host country advocates values ​​and customs that go against yours, think twice before taking the plunge.

In addition, if you value your comfort, it would be wise to choose a destination that will allow you to enjoy an environment quite similar to what you have known so far. Going to live on the other side of the world in a remote village could prove to be a very enriching experience, but it is not worth putting yourself in this situation if you do not want to: the most important thing is to be clear and realistic about your wants, what you are looking for through this expatriation experience and what you are ready to put yourself through.

What are your motivations ?

Everyone dreams at one time or another of taking off, but not everyone does it. Between the dream of going abroad and actually doing it, there is a lot of thinking and a lot of work… and one has to give oneself the means to do so. The steps you will take to succeed in your project will depend, among other things, on why you want to leave: do you want to go abroad to boost your career, improve your language level, to sit in the sun, for a change of scenery? Your motivations must be clear before you take off to better guide your research and to go to a country likely to bring you what you are looking for.

What do you have to lose... or win?

If you are not sure if you are ready to go abroad, it is always helpful to compile a “for” and “against” list. Being far away from family and friends scares most people, but depending on the destination, there are also plenty of advantages to settling abroad. Lower cost of living, a more attractive tax system, the possibility of progressing faster in your career, living in the sun all year round ... all these elements can help you make a decision.

Also remember to find out about returning to your home country. Sometimes it can be difficult to reopen your rights to health insurance or to have a degree obtained in another country recognized.