Country Guides September 12, 2021

How to Live Abroad and Adjust as an American

Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience.

Anyone seriously considering relocating to a foreign place should know how to live abroad and be well prepared to do so. Although relocating out of your comfort zone may not seem easy, knowing what to expect can help you ease the transition. Being an expat is a wondrous experience, after all.

If we look at the 2020 statistics of expats globally, 13% moved for a job, while around 8% have done it in search of better life quality. Even though dreaming about being elsewhere for many is just that – wishful thinking, what happens when we do take that leap of faith? No matter what drives us to move, it’s a complex process. We need to organize everything, from required documents to reliable movers. And what comes after we move? Our guide will give you some insight into what awaits you and how to handle it with a smile on your face.

Moving Internationally – Why Do We Do It?

Everyone has their reasons for pulling up the roots and finding a home somewhere else. It can be a jump start to the career or personal reasons, like moving to another nation for love. But what motivates us for moving abroad may be slightly different for each individual:

  • You may decide to move overseas alone because you’re tired of the daily routines and the same old surroundings. Being somewhere across the world can bring you many benefits and can significantly spice up your life.
  • When you’re young, embracing new experiences comes as easy as breathing. And where to taste life to the fullest than in a place completely different from what you’re used to?
  • Although you were born and lived in a particular climate for years, it doesn’t mean you like the weather conditions or that they suit you. Many of us have dreamed about moving to the Bahamas, so wishful thinking about cocktails and beaches can be a good starting point.
  • Living where you are currently may seem unsatisfactory in every way. Although running away from problems won’t solve them, consider this significant change as doing something for yourself.

However you look at it, the move will give you firsthand knowledge of the world and help you grow as a person.

phone watch and a camera on a map
Travel can lower your stress, and nearly 90% of people report lower levels of tension after a day or two away

Making Money While Living Overseas Is Important, so Here’s How to Find a Job

Figuring out how to live and work abroad may seem like a difficult task, but this is the initial step towards living overseas for many. If your employer has an international branch, you might be in luck. The easiest way may be to look for a different position inside the company you’re already working in but outside your homeland.

Your employer could even offer to reimburse the move so that you can save on expenses that way. If this is not an available option, you should spruce up your resume and search for industry-specific positions in the best European cities to reside in or in any other part of the world.

How Can I Live In Another Country for a Year? A Working Holiday Visa Is an Excellent Option

For anyone between ages 18 to 30, some countries offer Working Holiday Visas, which will allow you to stay and work for up to 12 months. Many young people use the benefits of this type of Visa to visit a foreign land and enjoy it for a year. Besides the documents needed to travel overseas, the requirements are that you should have enough money for a return ticket. But also that you are planning to travel overseas for a holiday with the secondary intention of finding employment.

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English Teachers Are Needed in Many Countries

But what is the easiest country to move to? Some could argue on the criteria by which you decide where it would be easiest to move to. You can say that a nation with less paperwork and minimum visa requirements is a no-hassle one, but many believe that it’s easier to move overseas to a place where you can speak your native language. It can mean that you’re moving to Canada, but also consider traveling to a country where an English teacher is a desired vocation.

Many are moving to Seoul because South Korea offers employment opportunities to English-speaking foreigners. Vietnam is also a rising star of Southeast Asia and the desired spot for many expats. If you’re interested in traveling while you teach others English, look at the following video and find out which are the best countries to do it.

Adjusting Is Easy if You Follow Certain Steps

Can you move to live in a different country? Of course, it may be the more straightforward step for some, while adjusting to a new nation can seem hard. While you may feel overflowing with happiness because you’ve found the perfect spot – ideal weather, breathtaking views, and a hefty paycheck, there can be many obstacles ahead. But no matter how hard it seems, these obstacles can be easily surpassed by following a few steps.

Step 1 – Find Accommodation

The first step of living in Europe as an American or anywhere else in the world is to find a place to stay. Whether you’re renting, buying, or simply bunking in someone else’s place until you get on your feet will all require some preparatory steps. If you know anyone in the nation you’re moving to, they may offer a place to stay for some time.

If you are venturing into unknown territory, you will probably look for a rental or buy a house. You can apply similar criteria as you would when looking for a home in the US. Start by determining which location fits your needs, the commute time to the workplace, the rental vs. housing prices, and the requirements for both options.

Step 2 – Find Ways to Overcome the Culture Shock

Adjusting to a completely different culture mostly depends on how open and ready you are to embrace something new, and not so much on whether you’re living in one of the friendliest countries in the world. But there are a few tips that can prepare you for the culture shock. First of all, you need to have realistic expectations of the place you’re moving to. Don’t picture out a country just from a few movies and tourist brochures, but dig into research a bit deeper. Make sure your mind is open, and see every difference as a chance to learn and grow. Engage in interactions with the local culture as much as you can, and while you’re getting used to the new, find the similarities to what you already know.

Step 3 – Learn the Language of the Country You Want to Reside In

One of the must-have points on your moving overseas checklist is to try and break the language barrier by learning the lingo native to your destination. You can start learning it before you relocate, but living among the native speakers will allow you to embrace it faster and speak more fluently. By learning at least the basics, you will be able to adjust and blend in more quickly into your new surroundings.

Step 4 – Join Expat Communities

While one of the crucial things for overcoming homesickness is to keep in touch with friends, finding an expat community from your home country may be just what you need. You will be able to speak your language and exchange experiences with people from the home country. This could be the balance between the familiar and unknown that you need.

woman sitting and reading
Learning the language of the nation you currently reside in will help you blend in effortlessly

Think About the Future

Investing in the storage service where your stuff will be safe while living out the dreamy adventure in another part of the globe is a good plan, but it’s not the only thing you should focus on. Residing in a foreign place far away from home brings many uncertainties. That’s why you should inform yourself thoroughly about the quality of healthcare, and the educational system, whether you have kids or you want to travel to study in a foreign place.

Figure Out How the Healthcare System Works

Quality healthcare systems, primarily publicly financed ones, should be the most important determining factor for finding the best places to retire in Europe. But even younger people shouldn’t discard this factor as unnecessary. Great healthcare services guarantee an excellent overall quality of life, and thus it’s essential to be well informed on how it works in your desired destination.

Education Options Are a Valuable Information for Families and Students on the Move

The best places to reside overseas with family don’t just include fresh air, picturesque natural surroundings, and high salaries. If you have kids and your family will travel with you, get informed on the educational system in the desired location. Take a look at the publicly funded schools, as well as the private and international ones. Make sure you check the requirements, like whether schooling is free or how much it costs if you are an expat. Similar information and details are also vital for those who seek to study overseas.

You shouldn’t neglect the importance of the healthcare system because it’s essential for the quality of life in one place

If You Love It There, Apply for Citizenship

Investing in vehicle shipping and other services to get both you and the belongings safely to a foreign land. Remember, settling in takes many steps – finding housing, bonding at work, and discovering expat communities. But after you break that barrier, you can finally start enjoying every benefit of the place you’ve chosen. You may grow to love it so much that you wish to become a true local. Requirements for citizenship vary from one nation to another, but it won’t be an obstacle if you set your mind to it.

Colleagues exchanging papers before moving overseas
Becoming a citizen will be a cherry on top of your life overseas

How Can I Move Abroad With No Money?

Moving across the world without a financial backup could prove to be impossible, but there are some tricks you can pull off to save up a bit and add to the budget. Before you contact an international moving company and decide what to pack when moving overseas, you should trim down your household items and have fewer things to transport.

This being said, throwing a garage sale is a wise choice for decluttering and earning some cash at the same time, too. This means having less in your inventory which will make the packing service cost less.

Becoming an Au Pair Is an Option for Younger People

Once you’ve set the cogs of your relocation in motion, seek the right work programs for expats in the desired location. Younger people can become an au pair, which means they’ll be helping with children and around the house in exchange for some money and a roof over their head. Becoming an au pair may be the perfect solution for those who want to know how to live abroad cheap.

Saving up before you decide to move can get you a long way

Now That You Know How to Live Abroad, Pack Your Suitcase and Travel to Your New Home

Let’s face it, deciding to move to another part of the globe is not easy, but it’s a welcoming experience for anyone bold enough to venture into it. And as this guide will help you know what to expect and take all the steps needed to be well adjusted, international moving services will help you start your adventure effortlessly. From shipping a car overseas to growing to love the place you’re in might be a long road, but in the end, it will make you rich in experience and well worth the effort.

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