Mistakes New Expats Make and How to Avoid

by David Tompkins

Top 5 Mistakes New Expats Make and How to Avoid Them

Mistakes New Expats Make“To err is human”, so we should accept the fact that we often make mistakes when we try something new. Moving abroad and finding the right job for new expats is no exception. New expats can expect a few hiccups along the way. However, being a little cautious can save you a lot of hassles that may result due to your miscalculations or wrong decisions.

All is not lost yet, even if you have made some silly errors in the past. You can start your adventure of being a global citizen, global nomad or expatriate all over again if you follow some tips shared by experienced expats. Here is a list of five mistakes new expats often make and how you can plan better to avoid it.

1. Not comparing income with living expenses 

Moving overseas and working on an international project can be an exciting idea. However, taking up a new job offer without doing the required research can be a disaster for you. You should do thorough research on the cost of living in your host country before accepting your international job offer. Will your salary meet various expenses like monthly house rent and daily expenses like grocery shopping, commutation, etc.? Will you be able to save some money at the end of the month? Will you be able to afford a decent lifestyle? These are the questions that you should ask yourself before accepting a job role in your chosen expat location.

new expatsThese days, it is quite easy to evaluate various lifestyle expenses as an expat. Online resources like Numbeo can assist you in making accurate calculations about your daily needs and expenses across multiple expat hubs. Your list of expenses should also include your habitual spending like eating out, binging on street food, apparel shopping, trips to nearby places, etc. Once you have estimated all your monthly expenses, you can weigh that number against the potential remuneration expected for your new job. Then pick the job opportunity that lets you live a desired lifestyle with adequate savings.

2. Being unaware of visa expenses

This mistake can be a costly one. You must know about all the work visa expenses well in advance. Some countries follow a complex process where you may end up paying a lot of money to obtain a work visa. It is fine if your employer refunds these expenses at the end of the contract. If you are naïve about the visa processes and expenses, you may end up agreeing to a job offer with substantial monetary loss.

Mistakes New Expats Make

You must have a clear understanding of your potential employer regarding the visa paperwork and the accompanying fees or expenses. Your employer would either repay for the entire cost or offer a partial refund at the end of the job contract, or not pay at all. It is always better to know all the pros and cons before you commit yourself to a job overseas. Knowledge is power, so don’t forget to do the research.

3. Rushing the accommodation process

Finding the perfect apartment to settle abroad is not an easy task. However, many new expats end up renting apartments without weighing the pros and cons. Expats without adequate prior information tend to make these hasty decisions that can turn out to be a costly mistake later.

Don’t sign the rental contract till the time you are completely satisfied with the property. Small drawbacks such as poor natural light or lack of proper ventilation can be a big headache for you eventually. Take your time as you look at various house rental options available. Invest some time and visit as many apartments you can before finalizing one. You can also seek the guidance of your co-workers and fellow expats when exploring various rental houses.

4. Not learning the social norms in your new country

new expats

A lot of new expats ignore the importance of understanding social norms before moving to a new country. Your gestures or the way you communicate in public may not be taken in the right spirit by your new hosts. It can be a major put off for locals with whom you interact during your initial days. For instance, some places are very serious about how they treat or speak with the elders.

Social norms and cultures differ across countries, so it is best to know the customs of the place you are moving to. Your ignorance may seem to be a rude shock for others abroad. However, you can cleverly work it out and make the most of this opportunity to delve into a new culture and feel accepted in your dream destination. You just need to be a little proactive when it comes to learning the new norms of your host nation. Your co-workers can help you in getting used to the new way of life in foreign soil.

5. Failing to Choose the Right Health Insurance

new expatsThis is one of the most common mistakes new expats make when moving abroad. Failing to choose the right health insurance plans can be a major mishap in your journey to enjoying a successful expatriate life. Yes you may be in great health, but accidents can happen and your health can also change in an instant.

You must have adequate health coverage before you make a move overseas. Not having the desired coverage would mean that you will have to shell out a lot of money from your pocket in terms of medical expenses. Ideally, you should do the required research and opt for international health insurance policies that suit your family and budget. Finding affordable health insurance plans won’t be a problem for you. However, always purchase these plans from reliable companies that offer the best coverage for the money invested. We recommend that you check out our insurance-related page HERE.

Don’t Repeat Your Mistakes

Making small mistakes is common for new expats moving abroad in search of a better life. Knowing the unknown is not a cakewalk, and making mistakes along the way shouldn’t stop you from putting your best foot forward. New expats make mistakes, and that’s normal. However, you have to learn from these human errors and work towards making the most of your stay abroad. Soon you will realize that embarking on this great adventure called expatriation can be worth all the trouble and mistakes.

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