Are you dreaming of embarking on a new adventure, but you are terrified by the thought of packing up your life and starting over in a different country? You’re not alone. Global relocation is an exciting prospect for many, yet the challenges of moving abroad often overwhelm people so much that they let go of the idea entirely.
If you have been thinking about moving to a different country, whether for work, family, or simply to kickstart a new chapter in your life, this article will unpack all the challenges of global relocation and set your mind at ease with useful tips and tricks.
Deciding where to move to
First up, how do you decide where to relocate to? If you’ve already got a job lined up in a foreign country or you’d like to join friends or family who live abroad, the decision is pretty much made for you. But if you work remotely, you run your own business, or you plan on finding a job once you arrive, the whole world lies ahead of you. Factors to consider when deciding where to relocate include your line of work, your budget, your lifestyle choices, your language capabilities, and and and. If you want to perfect your French and become a red wine connoisseur, France is an obvious relocation destination. If you want to live near the beach and learn to surf, Indonesia or Thailand will probably be on your list. Or, if you long for warm summers and adventure-packed weekends, Australia might just tick all your boxes.
Depending on where you are moving from, certain countries may be easier to relocate to in terms of visa applications and the overall cost of moving. The local cost of living is a major aspect to consider. If you don’t earn in local currency and at local income rates, your budget might be in conflict with the average living expenses in your new country of residence.
Once you’ve picked a country to move to, you’ll also need to choose a city and a specific suburb based on your needs and requirements. Do you want to live in the middle of the city, or do you prefer a quiet neighbourhood on the outskirts of town? Will you need to commute to the CBD every day for work? Do you have pets who need room to run around outside?
Don’t worry — you don’t need to spend years doing research on all the finer details of the city or country you plan to relocate to. Be smart with using resources! If you work with a relocation specialist, you can rest easy. A relocation expert will not only ensure that all the relocation administration is well taken care of but will also alleviate the stress of finding a home and settling into your new city.
Getting your visa documentation in order
Visa regulations differ from country to country and are also influenced by the country you are moving from. This process can be further complicated if you need to apply for a particular work visa. During corporate relocation, your employer will most likely assist you in the process of applying for and obtaining the correct visa and work permit. In the case of personal relocation, however, it is in your best interest to work with a professional agency to ensure you are eligible for the visa you are applying for and that you submit all the required application documentation error-free.
To give you a quick overview of the visa application process, the Australian government, for example, offers various visa types, each with its own set of requirements. The most common application requirements include English language competence, health examinations, and practising an eligible profession. Work visas are mostly accompanied by family visa applications, thereby enabling the applicant to bring their eligible family members with them upon relocation to Australia.
Now, for the big challenge: finding a place to live abroad. Whether you are renting or buying, finding the right home is a difficult mission to pull off, even when you are familiar with the local housing market and legal system. Factor in the added challenges of navigating the property landscape in a foreign country with a different currency and different legal considerations, and you might be ready to make a run for the hills!
While it is true that renting or buying property as a foreigner is more complicated than it is for locals, there is an easy solution to work through all these headaches. Enlisting a property agent will make this process a breeze. From searching for properties that meet your needs, setting up viewings on your behalf, negotiating contracts, arranging for temporary accommodation upon your arrival, and even helping to ship your goods from abroad to turn your new house into a home — your property specialist will become your new best friend in no time.
Shipping your belongings
On the topic of relocating your belongings, many people struggle with this question: is it better to ship your furniture and other home goods, or is it simpler and more affordable to sell your stuff and buy new things locally? International shipping rates are quite high at the moment. The cost of shipping your goods globally will depend on the volume or weight of the items, the distance of the journey, the time of year, and the customs duties and service charges of the destination port. While you may initially be put off by the expense of shipping all your belongings across the world, make sure you take the time to weigh up the cost of shipping against the cost of buying everything new.
(Read this article for more information about the pros, cons and costs of transporting your goods versus buying locally.)
Language and culture barriers
Many people struggle with adjusting to their new environment after global relocation. When moving to a foreign country where you are not familiar with the language and local culture, it is completely understandable that you may need some time to settle in. The quickest way to find your feet in a new country is to learn the language and become part of a community. Be patient and don’t be too hard on yourself! There are many ways to meet people and make friends — sign up for language classes, join an activity club such as a running club or book club where you can enjoy some of your hobbies with like-minded people, or become a member of a coworking space to network with fellow professionals.
Global relocation is no joke — we get that. But don’t let the initial challenges of relocation stand in the way of your biggest adventure yet!