Could You Live Abroad?

By Hand On The Hip - 5/31/2017

Do you love to travel and immerse yourself in other countries? What if instead of simply travelling, you were to actually move abroad and live there? People move abroad for many reasons. Some people move abroad to chase careers, get an education or be closer to a partner or family. Other people may do it simply for the experience – you can learn a lot more about a country by living there as opposed to going there as a tourist and it could change your whole world view. Living abroad can also be a great personal challenge, testing your independence and ability to acclimatise to different situations.

Of course, moving abroad is a big decision – whilst you’ll gain a lot from the experience, it may require just as many sacrifices. Here are just a few things to consider when deciding to live abroad.

Understanding the culture

The most difficult thing to adjust to will be the difference in culture. Every country has its own cultural norms – people may have different attitudes to work, family, religion and society in general. It’s worth researching into the culture before you move to ensure that you’re happy to embrace all the differences. Visiting the country as a tourist first could be the best way of doing this.

Understanding the cost of living

People may earn more/less in another country, whilst the general cost of food, rent and bills could also be drastically different. It’s important to research into the cost of living so that you create a budget and adjust your lifestyle. If the cost of living is too high for what you’re earning, you may want to rethink moving abroad or finding a way to earn more. Sites such as are fantastic for researching the difference in cost of living.

Knowing the local laws

You may have to abide by different laws when moving abroad. Something as simple as littering could end you up with a huge fine in Singapore. There may even be laws against homosexuality or restrictions on women as in many Arabic countries that could have a more severe personal impact. In other cases, laws may be more relaxed, which you may not be comfortable with such as different attitudes to smoking indoors. Research the laws 1) so that you don’t break any of them accidentally and 2) so that you’re happy enough to commit to living under these laws.

Learning the language

Whilst people speak English all around the world, you may still want to take steps to learn the official language if you’re going to be living there. You may want to try and learn some of the basic first before making your move. Sites such as can allow you to learn another language such as Japanese for free. If the language is too tough and you don’t think you can get by without it, you may want to reconsider moving to this country (fellow English-speaking countries could be an easier option).

Getting documentation

Living abroad may require applying for a special visa or citizenship. Certain countries may have strict requirements when it comes to immigration, which you may want to look into. There are sites that can help you with the visa application process such as for expats moving to Australia. In some cases, you may even have to apply for a new driving license if you plan on driving abroad.

Finding accommodation

Some people may already have family to live with or accommodation provided by an employer/university. However, if this isn’t a case, you’ll have to do some househunting yourself. It’s possible to use real estate listing sites to search for properties – you may even be able to book viewings via video-communication rather than having to fly out. That said, you may still want to see the accommodation in person before committing to living there – especially if you’re buying a home abroad. This could mean moving over there early so that you can do viewings in person.

Keeping up an income

Unless you’ve got huge amounts of savings to live off, you’ll need some form of income to pay the bills. This could mean getting a job abroad. You may want to secure a job before making your move – many employers will be willing to interviews over the phone or via Skype. Alternatively, you may be able to find a source of self-employment. If you’re sending money back home, take into account transfer fees and the difference in currency values. You may also have to consider tax laws and whether you should pay tax to your home country or the country you’re now living in.

Transporting your belongings

For temporary stints living abroad, you may be able to leave your personal belongings behind. However, if you plan on staying in another country for over a year, you may want to consider transporting some of your personal belongings over. Shipping them over is the cheapest way to do this, but it can take a period of several weeks for your items to arrive. Flying your belonging over is faster but more expensive. If you’re simply crossing a border, you may be able to get away with transporting your belongings by lorry, but this could be expensive in some cases. Companies such as can help you to find the most affordable and practical method of transporting your possessions.

Coping with homesickness

You’ll inevitably miss friends and family when moving abroad, not to mention certain places and customs that you were used to. Being able to deal with the homesickness is important. When it comes to friends and family, you can use the web to stay connected – social media is great for this, whilst video-communication can allow you to have face-to-face conversations. You may also want to link up with fellow expats in your new country. Whilst you should make efforts to mix with the locals, having a few friends who are going through the same experience as you will make you feel less lonely, plus you can give each other advice and console one another.

P.S. This post is a collaborative post and not written by Hand On The Hip.

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