Is there anything more stressful than working or moving overseas? Not knowing whether things will work out overseas can twist your stomach into knots. Will you perform well at work? Will the family settle? Will you find new friends, a new community? These things you simply will not know until the leap of faith is made.
However, as a worldwide shipping company, Seven Seas Worldwide works with people making this leap every day and their stories and adventures have helped us acquire a little knowledge as to how to make the journey a smoother one. So here are some pointers.
• It will always help the expat if they move to a country they’re already familiar with because they have friends or family living there. It can erase feelings of displacement or disorientation.
• You may want to think about moving to a country where your job skills are in demand. This could lead to a fast-tracked application, an increased salary and more benefits. Being valued in this way will do wonders for your self-esteem!
• Research into healthcare cover because costs could rise depending on your host country. Alternatively, you could start putting money aside for healthcare now. You should also speak to your doctor about vaccinations.
• Moving in the summer? Then pack your warm winter clothes! (Preferably in our boxes.)
• Remember when packing everything, you should keep one box aside for essentials; the things you’ll need the moment you get through the door of your new home such as toothbrushes, toiletries and, naturally, tea and coffee-making facilities!
• Stay on top of your finances. You may find that in your host country, your monthly budget doesn’t stretch to a month anymore. Think about nest eggs.
• Be ruthless when packing. You can’t take it all with you, however much you may want to. If you’re planning on taking furniture with you such as a sofa, bed or wardrobe, we would advise against it and shake our heads a lot. The shipping costs would be too high and in some cases may exceed the original value of the item. Just buy new stuff. Trust us, it’ll be easier.
• Reduce the size of your CD and DVD collections. It’s nice that you have an impressive collection but don’t ship it all to your new destination; it’ll cost too much. Reduce the size or better yet, transfer it to your mp3 player.
• While packing, don’t forget all those areas of the home that go unnoticed such as sheds, garages, basements and lofts. These places are magnets for clutter so we suggest paying them a visit early and clearing them out completely. It’ll probably be therapeutic too.
• Don’t forget to tell everyone you’re leaving – from your local library to the government! Utility services prefer to be warned well in advance so don’t leave gas, electricity and broadband services until the last minute. They might get grumpy.
• If you have family or friends who have made the big leap starting a new life abroad, now would be a good time to pick their brains. It’s important that you get someone else’s perspective before you make your mind up.
It’s easy to lose sight of your goal on this journey, for there are many challenges ahead. Always keep in your mind the reason why you set out on this path in the first place – and stay positive!