Before moving to Manchester, my only experience with living abroad was the ERASMUS semester I spent in Malta. But that was a completely different story – I was there temporarily, and didn’t need much. However, when you move to another country to live and work there, and to build a new life, things get more serious. And before you do that – you have to make sure you know what you’re doing and what you’re in for. Sharing from my experience – questions to ask and answer before the big move.
If you are reading this, then you probably have ideas of where you would like to move, therefore I won’t ask you this. But wherever your journey may take you, the most important thing is to be prepared. I hope that these questions below will help you prepare, or at least give you an idea of how prepared you are and should be.
1. Why Are You Moving?
I put this question first, as I truly think it is the most important one. Why? The answer to this question will keep you motivated throughout the process. If you’re clearly aware of your goals, it’s so much easier to align all your actions towards them. And when you will feel depressed during or after the move – remind yourself of the goal.
My only advice here is to do it for you – for your personal or professional growth, to satisfy your curiosity, to broaden your view and enrich your experience.
2. When Will You Do It?
The sole idea behind this question is to set yourself a deadline so you have no excuses for putting things off. Allow yourself enough time to take care of everything, but don’t take too long either. The more time you’ll have, the less determined you might be.
If you’re having a hard time to motivate yourself, get the flight tickets! This will be a true deadline imposed by external factors and might work better. You wouldn’t want that money go to waste, right?
3. Where Will You Live?
If you don’t have any options to crash your friend’s couch or enough money to live at a hotel until you get settled in, you need to think about this in advance. It will require quite a bit of research, but less stress if you manage to arrange your accommodation before the day comes.
If you’re aiming for the UK, here’s my experience with finding myself a place to live.
4. How Much Will It Cost You And Can You Afford It?
Moving abroad, no matter where you go will always involve some initial costs you’ll need to cover. Flights, accommodation deposit, visa or other documents, and all those things you can’t pack in your limited-size baggage… If you don’t have a job set up for you right after the move, it is important to know how long can you last.
To answer this question, you’ll also need to do quite a bit of research. The best way is to ask people who live in your chosen country and city, but if it’s not possible, there are plenty of online resources. Numbeo will give you a good insight, and you can even compare the new costs of living to your current city or country. When you’ll look for a place to live in, you’ll get the idea on how much it could cost you.
Don’t hesitate to use the online forums and get in touch with others with experience – it might help you a great deal.
5. How Will You Earn The Living?
Sooner or later your savings will run out and you will have to start working. Among others, this is one of the top priority questions to solve. Sometimes you might get lucky and land a job even before the move, but in most cases it’s impossible and you will have to look for one only after arriving.
However, don’t put off the research and preparations. The job search has moved online long ago, and you can get quite a good understanding of your chances and possibilities even before the move. Read this blog post to find out about my experience in the UK.
6. Can You Get The Visa And Work Permit?
Luckily, for me this was no issue – I moved from one European Union country to another, and therefore didn’t have to worry about visa and work permit. But if it’s not the case for you, I suggest you start with this. You wouldn’t want to realise mid-process that there are various obstacles or it might cost you a lot of money and/or time.
7. Do You Speak The Local Language?
For me this question was out of the picture as I had quite decent knowledge of English, however, it might not be the case usually. If you don’t know the language at all and the locals are not keen on using other languages you might know, there’s a barrier, but with time you can overcome it.
But even if you know the local language, sometimes the level might not be enough. I would have never gotten the job I have now if not for my English skills. I can talk and I can write easily, and some people are even guessing I’m from the USA because of my accent. But you might not need that, as it all depends on what kind of job you want to do.
8. Are You Morally Prepared?
Yes, it will be hard, it will be difficult. If you’re not up for any hardship at all, I suggest you forget about this idea completely. But if you still feel that you’re ready for this challenge, good luck! You will need the strength, you will need to know how to motivate yourself, how to deal with issues and stressful situations, and how to pick yourself up after all that.
Another thing I want to mention here is a need for openness to this new experience. You will move to another culture that has its customs, written and unwritten rules, and peculiarities. If you dive in with open mind and heart, it will be easier for you to adjust to your new environment. I would suggest you do a research on the culture you’re moving to, especially if it’s way different from where you’re now.
9. What Is Your Plan B?
I would never suggest you have a Plan B and focus on that. At this stage, you only need to focus on your Plan A, your goals and how to reach them. But then again – life has a funny way of working out sometimes and it might have nothing to do with how much you have tried. Or you might just change your mind after learning that it’s not what you actually want.
If any of this happens, it would help for you to know what’s next, how to move forward… or back. But don’t you think it’s a route of failure – it’s just a little detour!
As you might have guessed, it doesn’t end with these questions – there are many more. But I think if you have the answers to these, you have already made a big step forward to reaching your goals of starting a new life somewhere else. All the best wishes!
Note: This post originally appeared on Expat in MCR (expatinmcr.com) blog which has since been renamed to Dream Chaser (dreamchaserwrites.com).