Five Ways for Expats to Settle in a Foreign Country
It must be really exciting to see that you are finally moving abroad after many months of hard work and focus. You finally have an opportunity to live in the land of your dreams and enjoy a lifetime adventure. Or maybe this is a new work assignment or an offshore retirement. However, all the excitement shouldn’t disrupt your logistical planning and all the things you need to do before you board the flight.
The process of settling in a foreign country can be quite daunting, especially if you are moving overseas for the first time. Despite the huge opportunities expat life brings, lack of adequate planning and preparation can turn your relocation experience into a nightmare. Here are the top 5 ways for expats to settle in a foreign location:
Be thoroughly prepared
The importance of preparation is often overlooked; however, it’s a crucial part of expatriate living. The entire process of expatriation requires hard work, in-depth research, and adequate planning; however, there would be few ups and downs along the way. You should be prepared to face various hurdles associated with international living. If you have the plans in place, you should be able to overcome them with ease. Keep yourself informed about everything that your host country can offer well before you board your outbound flight.
You can also get vital tips from people who could easily get integrated into the new lifestyle of a foreign land. Understand the local customs and be realistic about what you can expect from the new life overseas. Your emotional well being is also important when you start living and working in a foreign country. So, don’t be scared to share your potential obstacles and apprehensions with your employer. The bottom line is that you should only move abroad when you are thoroughly prepared to face all odds and live a good life.
Get social and build a strong support network
Expats who are a bit introverted will find it difficult to socialize in a foreign land. However, you should start integrating into the new way of life by building a strong network of friends and fellow expats. You will need a support network as you are far away from home and you have limited friends.
Start building your social network by talking to colleagues and other expats living close by. You may get lucky if your employer introduces you to a mentor who can help you find your feet initially. You can also talk to your neighbors and make local friends help you out if you ever face any sticky situation.
You must communicate with your reporting manager at work often to stay abreast of whatever is happening in the professional front. If you are on a foreign job assignment, the communication process shouldn’t drop off after the initial few weeks or months in a foreign location. You must flag anything that is hindering your work or family life.
Having work-related issues would mean that your productivity may suffer. Don’t be scared to share your job issues with your employer. They will surely find a way out so that your life as an expat professional is not jeopardized.
Get the best job and financial support
Working on an international project or expat assignment should uplift your resume. However, the entire experience can be a mixture of relentless hard work and sacrifices. Even though your international job assignment may seem very lucrative, you must have clarity on relocation allowances and a competitive salary package.
Settling in a new country would mean a lot of financial investments. So, check out if you are getting the desired support in terms of housing, international health insurance, and travel expenses. If you have kids, you will need educational support and adequate insurance. Ultimately, it is all about how you negotiate with your employer and get the best package for your expat job.
Give yourself enough time
Feeling at home overnight is not easy if you are moving abroad for the first time. It takes time to adjust to a new home with completely new surroundings. For some expats, it may even take years to settle and feel at home in a foreign location. So, try to focus on small little things like having a regular video call with your family back home. Join a gym to stay healthy or build a routine that can assist you in the much-needed work-life balance.
Ultimately, when moving abroad, it’s important to go in with your eyes wide open. Then, when you do face a challenging situation, you’ll be more resilient. By knowing what awaits, you’ll be much more open to new experiences and able to make the most of your time. We also recommend that if you are planning to move abroad, make sure you have a global health insurance plan that will fully cover you and your family for emergency and routine medical expenses. There are some great global health plans offered via Expat Financial.