Thursday, 31 July 2014

The expat items you just can't live without


If there’s one skill every expat needs to master, it’s the art of packing light – both for the initial move and for those trips home to see the loved ones you’ve left behind. On the other hand, there are some items which no first-time expat should forget when you set off adventuring– those expat items which you just can’t live without!

Creativecommons/LeyramOdacrem

1. An internet-enabled device: Whether it’s a smartphone, laptop or tablet (maybe even all three), this device is what links you to everyone back home, allows you to find out important info on your new country and lets you to tap into online expat communities for hints for making the most of expat life. Though many remember a time before technology enabled an easier expat life, most will feel lost without their devices. Keep them safe, charged and to hand.   

2. The sentimental keepsake: A somewhat worn childhood toy, a family photograph, a letter or postcard from a friend. When you have a moment of homesickness, this item is the one you’ll turn to – so don’t be tempted to leave teddy in a drawer in your parents’ house! 

3. Products you can’t buy abroad: We asked our Twitter followers what products they always snap up when visiting home and were inundated with responses! Food, medical and sanitary products were top of our expats’ shopping lists so make sure you research what’s going to be available and stock up on items you know you’ll need.

4. A camera: Documenting your expat experiences is important, whether you’ve moved abroad for the short or long term. Why not start a blog to showcase your favourite snaps and let people know about expat life? It can be a great way to keep family and friends updated, memorialise your favourite aspects of everyday life and even get in touch with like-minded expats. You could even become one of our guest bloggers!

5. Luggage options: Many expats find they travel more once they’ve moved abroad, within their new country or in the local region. So make sure you can grab an appropriately-sized case, holdall or backpack at a minute’s notice. Embrace the spirit of adventure and soon you’ll be filling your passport with new stamps from around the world.

Are you already an expat? Which expat items could you not live without? Let us know in the comment section below or by tweet @expatexplorer.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The five blog posts you have to read before moving abroad


You’ve got your visa, filed the paperwork, and told your friends and family you’re leaving. There are still plenty of things left to pack and sort out before you go – and what about when you arrive?

The great news is, although we can’t help you pack, we have compiled a handy list of our five favourite blog posts to give you a solid grounding of some of the key things you should expect when you’re leaving your home for pastures new. 

Everything will feel a little strange at first, but that’s normal – throwing yourself in at the deep end is the best way to feel more at home more quickly.

Grab a coffee, sit back, enjoy - you can even take some notes if you like – and let us help you prepare for the journey ahead! Click the headline to read each post in full. 
  

The main thing you’ll want to do is explore and get to grips with your new neighbourhood. There’s no better way to get a handle on the local people and suss out where you want to return to (and where you might not!). The golden rule here? Always take a map or make sure your phone is charged!

Rome wasn’t built in a day – and unfortunately, in a similar way there’s no shortcut to mastering a language straight away. Patience and practice is the key so look for opportunities whenever you can to try out your skills and aim to do it with confidence! Lots of locals will respect you for giving it a try and getting stuck in!

Image source: Creative Common/Seedcamp Photos
Moving blind to a new place without anyone you know sounds a little daunting – and rightly so. But there are a number of things you can do to lessen the blow and ease the stress. Check out your network and see if you’ve got any mutual friends, for one. Social media sites in particular are great for this.

With every new country there’s a new culture – and the same goes for workplaces. Wherever in the world you are, chances are there will be at least one custom which feels a bit alien. Whether that’s the tea run or a 30 minute time-lag, try to fit in quick (and make your peace with it!).

Although distance can always be a challenge with a long distance relationship, ensuring you have the right approach when it comes to trusting one another and communicating openly about the problems which might come up, can help cross-continental love last.

What would you tell yourself if you were to make the move again? Share your wisdom with other expats here https://expatexplorer.hsbc.com/hintsandtips/lists
 

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