Opting to move your life to a different country is vastly different from merely vacationing in that place. While both have their pros and cons, having the experience of living on the other side of the world can bring some significant life realizations.
Once you have decided to make the international move, however, actually organizing it can seem like a mammoth task.
From international removals of your possessions to unconscious cultural biases, here are the most essential things to consider before an international move.
1. The technicalities
Visas, language, health insurance, property taxes — these are all the mundane aspects of life (no matter where you reside), and they continue to be of importance even when you move your home across the world.
- When it comes to visas, you want to ensure that you are legally able to work wherever you are going, so you will need to know what kind of visa you need. Depending on your age, you may automatically qualify for a 1-2 year visa enabling you to live and work in a country. Otherwise, you may have to be hired by a company, invest in property, or (at the very least) apply for one.
- Having health insurance is usually a requirement of being granted a visa. So make sure you thoroughly understand the rules and regulations for individual countries.
- While new languages can be intimidating to take on, they are also (undoubtedly) the source of much excitement. Job opportunities and relationships often transpire because of more language. And, the good news is that the more you practice, the better you will become!
Even if you are petrified about opening your mouth and producing a new sound, you are almost guaranteed to be presented with more invitations to join in and participate with the locals. Then you will know it was worth it.
- Last but not least: money! When you are purchasing a new home overseas, you must examine the expense of tax and legal fees which can often increase the original purchase price by up to 10 percent.
2. The whole storage matter
Now that you have all the practicalities sorted, you need to deal with your possessions. Regardless of whether you are a minimalist or a maximalist, there will be challenges ahead.
First, you want to decide what is worth taking with you on the new adventure. Will you need outdoor equipment? Do you work on the road and need your paperwork digitalized for easy access? Are you moving into a furnished apartment or are you going to ship all your large belongings?
However, depending on how long you are leaving for, there is a good chance that you will need to rent from local storage facilities.
Luckily, they are available in all shapes and sizes, almost guaranteeing that you will be able to find one to suit your needs.
If you do opt for self-storage, ensure you schedule some extra time to pack and store your belongings appropriately. Pad and wrap your breakables, and make sure that all boxes are stacked correctly. Arranging your belongings incorrectly, even if just for a short time, can bring devastating damage to them.
If you have delicate possessions, consider hiring professionals to do the heavy work, such as experienced piano removalists or the like.
Alternatively, you can hire professional removalists who can do all the work for you, utilising modular mobile storage.
3. Unconscious cultural biases
No matter what you may proclaim, we all have them. Just because you have wandered the globe or spent most of your life in a multicultural city, doesn't mean you are completely immune to unconscious cultural biases.
It is only by residing in another (very) foreign country that your inherent cultural biases get thoroughly tested.
Everything from your sense of humor, to the way you pack your bag in the grocery store could (and probably will) be different when you move to a culturally diverse country or region.
Let's put it this way: Once you move, your “normal” behavior may very well become “strange” when displayed in a foreign country. This is when your inherent unconscious cultural biases may be exhibited. However, don't be discouraged, as it is an excellent way to understand yourself and your place in the world more fully.
Have you ever moved abroad? What did you have to deal with before jumping ship? Did you use a professional moving service?
Let us know in the comments below. We always want to hear your tips and tricks!
John Pfeiffer has been the proud owner of Ashtons Removals for over 40 years. His attention to detail, a product of his accountancy background, and his emphasis on training and empowering his team members, has ensured the vast number of Gold Coast families who have been moved by Ashtons Removals, have had their furniture and effects moved undamaged and with minimum fuss.