Category Archives: First Move Abroad

Successful Expats=TranspantsHave you been dreaming about an international career? Watching your friends on Facebook posting stories of relocation to cool destinations for that one, really, really amazing job? Or going back to school to a university abroad? One of your friends may have taken a break and moved to the beach to save dolphins in a beautiful destination. All of those stories are fantastic experiences. Why not make your story this year’s story? If you have had enough of waiting, wishing and hoping to do what other people do abroad, this year can be your year to take a leap!

Those looking for a more rewarding lifestyle abroad, get ready to transplant! Expat or student mentality is great for short-term goals but successful moves abroad are like transplantations. During your move and for a significant time after, you will experience something of the sort what gardeners call a “transplant shock”. Your immune defense is down, you are feeling under the weather, sensitive to the new climate, temperature, and all conditions of your new habitat, poor quality internet access including.

While financial conditions of your move are important, it’s your focus, openness to new ideas, willingness to make new friendships and connections, goals that you set and the planning to achieve them that are key to making a move in the first place and then growing your roots. You will become a successful transplant if you research and prepare well before making the move, get to know the locals instead of staying in your expat community circle, set clear goals for your stay and have an exit strategy. After all, chances are you will have to replant back to your home country. Have no fear, planning sounds much worse than it really is. Setting up new social networks, sharing your joys, doubts and funny stories with friends, family and colleagues back home will make it worth your while.

Here is to the one and only international move that really matters. Yours!

By Yelena Mackay

Follow on Twitter @MovingWtShaking

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First Move AbroadMy first move abroad reminds me of my first ever day of skiing. Both events came at a much more advanced age than for most people. Both had two things in common: low visibility and a lifeline, a support structure. The support structure I had a lot of appreciation for consisted of a local friend who mentored me through the whole experience prior to the departure and then picked me up at my first foreign airport. Another friend helped me rent my skiing equipment at a little resort in Swiss Alps, got me somewhere closer to the top of the mountain and delivered into the hands of an expert skiing instructor who, indeed, became a lifeline.

It doesn’t matter how much you read about your destination or talk to people who live there before making the move. Things are going to look and sound familiar, you will know the general direction in which you are headed but don’t expect full clarity of vision on day one.  It helps to have someone ahead of you to follow and copy the movements. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to figure out every little detail before you get to your destination. Even if you are an experienced traveller, moving your life to a new location abroad will throw in many surprises. Adjusting to your expat life is a process and it will take some research, a lot of practical experience and work on building new survival skills.

Are there any shortcuts? Sure! Since this is your move, focus on things that are important to you. Let’s simplify it down to 3 steps:

  1. Think about and/or make a list of what you need to know before you land at a minimum to be comfortable.
  2. Research your questions online and talk to people who have done a similar move.
  3. Find at least one local contact who you can turn to for help.

Setting time aside to process what your needs are is important. You can spend days browsing expat sites, reading through a lot of fun and exciting stories of other people’s adventures and still feel unprepared. Focus on what makes up your current environment and how to remap it to your foreign destination. Then do your research. Having someone locally to turn to can be really valuable not only in case of an emergency but also to help create a sense of connection and familiarity with your host country.

Invest a bit of time, think it through, research, follow someone and experience. You will be off bunny slopes and down the black runs in no time!

By Yelena Mackay

Follow on Twitter @MovingWtShaking

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