Friday, 7 December 2012

New Year, New You?



Image Source: Creative Commons Niklas Bildhauer

In the lead up to the New Year, thoughts can easily turn from new resolutions to new challenges, which in turn can trigger thoughts of new jobs and even new countries. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of a big change, so to help you we’ve put together a series of questions that you should ask yourself before committing to a new life abroad:

Why?
People become expats for all sorts of reasons, but the principal motivators tend to be a new career, moving to be with family or a desire to change lifestyle. If any of these sound familiar then make sure that your decision is justified. If you’re moving because you think there might be better job opportunities abroad, do your research first and try and find a job before you move. Also, check that the lifestyle is really as much of an improvement as you think – a good place to start is the findings from our annual Expat Explorer survey, as this is compiled from our survey of over 5,000 expats and should give you some valuable insights into the work culture and lifestyle in your chosen destination.

Where?
Keep an open mind. Research the opportunities that each country offers – tempting though it may be, try and avoid setting your heart on a place before you really know what it’s like. For a useful background on countries, we’ve also got a number of country guides you can look through, and you can also compare countries and filter them by economics, experience and raising children abroad. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can then look to compare two countries in detail, or view in-depth analysis of our findings.

What first steps?
We’ve said it already, but we’ll say it again: research, research, research! Social media is a fantastic resource and you can use it to contact expats in the country you’re set on to get their opinions and advice. You can also read expat blogs, of which there are hundreds of thousands, to give you a good idea of what life is actually life on the ground. Travel guides will also be a useful resource so stock up on those too. Perhaps most importantly, try and make a visit to your chosen country first. You may find that it really isn’t what you were expecting although on the other hand it might everything you have dreamed of – and more! Lastly, do your best to save money before moving, just in case things don’t work out. This will give you a security blanket in case you have been unable to secure a job or a permanent home prior to landing.

These are just a few of the things that you should be thinking about before you even consider taking that big leap to becoming an expat. There’s many, many more but hopefully this post has gone some way to making you plan for that all important journey!

If you want to read more on how to research a location, take a look at our blogpost on the topic.
And most importantly - good luck!

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