Friday’s Seven: 7 Things to Do When Moving to a New Country

Heading to a foreign country for study, work,  or relocating with family and need some help getting yourself prepared? Here are a few useful tips:


#1 Get to know practical country facts: Before moving in, do some good country research and look for practical information such as time zone, climate (you need know if you will be facing freezing winters or sweltering summers), typical opening hours for shops and service stores, country specific driving rules if you are planning to drive, habits and customs you need to consider and the likes. Country books, travel sites and embassy websites are all good sources.

#2 Put a schedule for packing your belongings and stick to it: Packing up is a tough job that needs a good plan with timelines. Divide your belongings into things: to sell (e.g. your car)/ to ship to your new  location/to give away/, to leave behind (which may need special packing/protecting)/to pack into suitcases. Give yourself plenty of time to do each and follow that schedule closely to get it done.

#3 Do a comprehensive health check before you go:  A health related hassle is not something you need when trying to settle down in a new country. Doing a full health check in your home country should avoid that to a great extent and let you know of needed medication or prescriptions before you go.

Networking is key. Photo by cobalt123

Networking is key. Photo by cobalt123

#4 Network for contacts: Getting in contact with someone who already lives there (a local or an expat) can turn out extremely useful. They will give you insider tips and valuable information saving you some effort and time to settle down. Ask your circle of friends/family/work colleagues and there is a big chance you will find someone (and don’t worry if it’s a distant acquaintance, most people are nice enough to help out newcomers).

#5 Start looking for permanent housing immediately: Staying at someone’s place, or in a hotel/hostel is not going to last forever (that’s why it’s called temporary). Start looking for a place the soonest (by the first week of your arrival is a good idea) as the process can take some time and to give yourself the luxury of looking for as many options as possible and choosing what best suits you.

Illustration by Markus Koljonen

Illustration by Markus Koljonen

#6 Start learning the language: The earlier the better. Taking language classes back in your home country is a great idea if you have the time. Once you move in, start intensive language classes the soonest. Removing the language barrier is one milestone to definitely aim for!

#7 Be and stay positive: Yes moving away from home and moving to an unfamiliar place is really difficult, but looking at the bright side moving to some place new, meeting new people and going through new experiences is not a bad idea too isn’t it? Embrace the experience with its ups and downs and try to make the best out of it. Good luck!


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