10 Things Expats Need to do Before Moving to Europe

by David Tompkins

Moving to Europe

Moving to Europe? Learn What Expats Should do Before Moving to Europe

The number of people moving to Europe for work, adventure, or post-retirement life has increased swiftly over the past few years. High-paying jobs and better living conditions are the major pulls for those looking to work in Europe. The adventure enthusiasts list the challenging natural terrains of Europe as the reason for their move. While the aged and retired wish for a peaceful and relaxed expatriate lifestyle in the many beautiful locations of European countries.

According to several estimates online, expats account for around 6.6% population of the European Union (EU). While about 13 million expats are migrants from within the EU, over 20 million have arrived from all corners of the world. The popular favorites with expats are the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Germany.

But before you hop onto a plane and zoom off to a new destination, here are a few tips to help you make an informed decision.

1. Research the European City You Will Live in.

Start with collecting every detail about the city you are going to be moving to. Check out the accommodation options there, the places where you can dine, or grab a quick coffee. If it’s a city where English is not the primary language, try to learn a few simple words in that language. You will blend in sooner with the locals if you can manage to pick up some basic conversation skills — greetings and introductions, numbers and time, offers, etc., and their responses.


2. Understand Visa Conditions

An expat visa does not enjoy the same kind of rights as a resident visa of the host country. There are several restrictions and you should know about them before you embark on your journey. It helps to learn them beforehand so that when you actually reach the airport you are ready to face the questions head-on. Most countries in Europe will require long term visitors and expats to obtain a visa. As such, you will have to meet the requirements that are set for most European countries, including having health coverage that meets their Schengen Visa requirements. Make sure you apply as early as possible for your visa before moving to Europe.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Workplace Expectations

Learning and following workplace ethics is very important. The place where you end up working may have a very strict time schedule, a formal way of greeting, or perhaps the culture of working late. You must assess such requirements and strategize how you intend to deal with them. Working in Europe is different from the USA.

Explore Places

4. Explore All Available Job Opportunities

If you have come to a decision to work and settle in Europe but haven’t decided on a job yet, explore as many options as you can. Do not compromise on your dream job until it’s been a while searching for work. There will always be a place and job where your skills will be highly appreciated and valued. So don’t give up until you’ve zeroed in on one.

5. Be Open to Learning New Things

It’s convenient to travel across Europe if you know how to speak English. However, there are many countries that have their own languages too. You don’t need to learn those languages; however, you could learn a few words and phrases that are commonly used here. Locals always appreciate such efforts.

You can dress like a local too — neutral colors, scarves, and layers. This will help you not look like a tourist, giving you the chance to interact with everyone else. Europeans speak in a low tone, so try to follow that as much as you can. Also, walking is quite common here than driving a car. You will find walking to be a pleasant experience, especially during the not so cold months.

6. Obtain Global Health Insurance for Europe

As noted above, moving to Europe will require you to obtain adequate international health insurance that meets the visa requirements set by the European country you will reside in.  If you are going to Europe for a short stay, you probably won’t be required to have travel medical insurance depending on your citizenship, but you should get it anyway. Healthcare is not as cheap or free in Europe as many people think. For some nationalities, you will be required to get Schengen Visa travel medical insurance.  For expats, you will also probably be required to obtain a global health plan that meets the requirements in your visa. Most expat health plans sold by Expat Financial will meet these requirements.

Global Health Insurance

7. Local Friends can be a Boon

Making friends with expats who’ve already been living in Europe for a few years will help you adapt better to your surroundings. They can introduce you to their local friends who can show you the best places to live in, eat, work, and party. These local friends can also help you out when you are facing a serious problem and need immediate help.

8. Know From Where to Seek Help in Europe

Keep the contact details of emergency services saved in the fast dial of your phone. Also, maintain a list of the places where you can eat what you like, or stay when you don’t feel like returning to your own place or if there is some emergency. We recommend that you don’t call 911 as you would Canada or the USA as it won’t work. Generally, you can dial 112 from any country in the European Union (EU) and it should connect you to emergency services – including police, fire, and ambulance services.

9. Convert your Currency & Make Banking Arrangements

It is a good idea to convert some of your money to the local currency in your European destination before you arrive. Most countries in Europe use the Euro while Switzerland has its own currency. Check out our currency foreign exchange page for more information. England uses the Pound Sterling. Most banks will require you to set up an appointment to set up a bank account and will require you to do so once you arrive and have some official status there. Depending on the country you reside in, banking can be quite easy to set up.

10. Make Your Time Count

You may move to Europe for a short-term extended stay or permanently. Whatever your choice, make your time there count. Try to learn as much as you can about the country of your stay as well as its neighboring areas. Gain knowledge about the unique cultural mannerisms and mingle as much as possible with the local people and their families.

Whether you’re moving to Europe to work or just want to experience the European lifestyle, immerse yourself in the spectacular history of the third most populated continent. Enjoy its centuries-old architecture, and explore its many iconic landmarks. Give in to Europe’s incredible charm, and revel in the beauty of its exciting cities.

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