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How to Prepare to Move Abroad
— September 15, 2016
Whether you’re moving abroad to work, study, volunteer, or retire, the experience of living in another country can be extremely rewarding. The process of moving overseas is often equally overwhelming as it is exciting, and the better prepared you are before leaving, the better your experience is likely to be when you arrive in your new home. Let’s look at a few key points to consider when preparing to relocate abroad.
Take Care of Your Health Needs
It’s a good idea to start by visiting your health-care provider to discuss any health considerations related to your move. Depending on where you’re moving, you may need to get vaccinated against certain illnesses or get proof of your vaccination history. Stock up on any medications you need, and make plans for getting refills at your destination.
Expat health insurance is one of the most important health considerations for anyone moving abroad. You may need to pay for care that was free in your home country, or the health insurance you use at home might not cover the costs of out-of-country medical bills. In most cases, you’ll need to invest in a global health insurance policy. In addition to providing peace of mind, international health insurance for the duration of your stay is actually part of the visa requirements for many countries -- which means it’s not just a wise investment, but a necessity for your overseas move.
Deciding what to bring and what needs to be left behind is often one of the most challenging aspects of moving abroad. Shipping can be expensive, and it’s usually more cost-effective to purchase certain items when you arrive in your new home than to bring absolutely everything with you. Selling some of the stuff that doesn’t make the cut can help ease the financial burden of buying replacement items when you arrive. If you’re moving abroad for a fixed period of time, you may be able to temporarily leave a few items with family and friends or it might be worth investing in a storage unit.
While it’s important to prioritize essential items, try to save room for artwork, small decorations, or anything else that will make your new home feel like your own. It’s also a good idea to research your destination, and find out if some of your favourite foods or products from home will be tough to find there. These kinds of items may seem frivolous, but you’ll be glad you packed them when you inevitably find yourself feeling homesick.
Make Time to Prepare Mentally
As you deal with practical matters like visas, overseas banking, and international health insurance, it’s easy to overlook the psychological aspects of moving abroad. Allow yourself plenty of time to say goodbye to family and friends and make plans for how you’ll stay connected with them. Give yourself time to relax and take days off from packing and planning.
It’s common to experience mixed emotions as your move date approaches, even when you feel confident you’ve made the right decision to leave home. You may want to connect with expat networks in the community you’ll be moving to. Other expats have been through the same experience as you and can often provide helpful advice on how to navigate the transition.
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