Moving overseas is very exciting, yet extremely daunting. When I went to the UK on a working holiday I arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport with no friends, family, a place to live or a job. And I thought, ‘what on earth I had done’! I could have easily got on a plane home, but didn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t. But I must say, those first weeks after moving overseas were the hardest. Why? Because it takes time to find a place to live, get a job and set yourself up. But I didn’t throw in the towel, though sometimes I could have. But once I had set up my new life I began to really enjoy myself. So if you are moving overseas to live and work in another country, here’s my best tips on how to survive the first weeks after moving overseas. You can thank me later!
What to Know Before You Go
That’s right. Travel is about discovering the world for yourself however, there are a few things I would suggest you know before you go. I wish someone had given me a few tips of what to expect before moving to a new country. Without spoiling everything for you, here are my best tips to survive the first weeks after moving overseas to a new country.
Prepare Yourself by Doing some Research
The key to a great overseas move is to prepare yourself before moving abroad. Yep, some people may say ‘you are overdoing it’ but I say preparing yourself will help you to hit the ground running. My first tip to surviving your first weeks after moving overseas is to do some research on the city and country you plan to move to. I wish I had known more before I arrived in London – then maybe I wouldn’t have stood at the airport wondering what to do! So knowing things, like how you will get from the airport into town and how much it will cost can be game changers. As is knowing what clothes you should pack so you can dress appropriately for the weather you will be arriving in. Having accommodation pre-booked I think is a definite, see following, that is my second biggest tip to surviving your move abroad. Other things I suggest is to learn a few words of the language of your new country. Knowing how to say hello, goodbye, how much, how are you, please, thank you and get lost will be useful as those who speak another language often appreciate you trying to communicate with them. And discovering what public transport is available will also be helpful. Ensuring you have the right visa will also help.
Have Somewhere to Stay When You First Arrive
The first thing to do to help you survive the first few weeks after moving overseas is to have somewhere to stay when you arrive. I would definitely book a place for at least two weeks. I suggest two weeks because by the time you have recovered from jet lag, sorted out things like getting a SIM card and done some sightseeing the week will almost be up. So don’t put pressure on yourself, give yourself the extra time to sort things out. I mostly book a two-week stay in a hostel or a hotel for my arrival. Then I look for something longer term which can be in an AirBnb. Lately, I have also been using Facebook accommodation groups to find longer term accommodation. So this is definitely the first option to help you survive the first weeks after moving overseas – have accommodation booked that will be your initial base. I recommend booking with HostelWorld if wanting a bed in a hostel, Booking.com for hostels and hotels and AirBnB for something longer. If interested in housesitting and getting free accommodation in return for looking after someones home and their pets, then check out Trusted Housesitters.
Pack Useful Items
There are many useful travel items to travel with. If you take them all, you may need a second bag! Some, that I never travel without are a hanging toiletry bag, universal plug adaptor, spork and plate, packing cubes and my RFID document holder. As you travel, you will discover many others that are useful.
Get Things Sorted in the First Weeks After Moving Overseas
Once you arrive in your new country there are some practicalities that must be taken care of. Definitely get these things sorted because once you have, you won’t have to worry about them again.
- Purchase a local SIM Card. You will need to make calls to help organise the following.
- Start Looking for a Place to Live. This, I have found to be the hardest thing to do while living overseas.
- If planning to work. Register for a Tax Number.
- Open a local bank account for your salary to be paid into. Though accounts like WISE and Revolut can be used.
- Find a Job.
- Get to Know Your Neighbourhood – find the local supermarket. See what restaurants are available. Is there a park you can get some exercise in? Are there places to go out to like pubs, nightclubs, etc. Is there public transport to get you around?
- Start Enjoying Yourself.
Coping With Loneliness In Your First Weeks After Moving Overseas
If you have travelled overseas solo, it can initially feel quite lonely in a new country, particularly if you don’t know anyone. Home sickness in those first few weeks is often what sends people running home! Yes, it can be lonely which is why you need to get out there and do things and meet people. One of the best things to do is to stay in a hostel after arriving because they are full of single travellers, doing what you are doing. And you never know, you might just find a friend. Another thing to do is keep up your hobbies. Look for a sport club, gym, choir or book club to join. Even join Facebook groups, there are plenty of expats living in cities around the world posting meet-ups and social gatherings.
Don’t Expect Everything to go to Plan
In a perfect world, you arrive in another country, find somewhere to live, get a job and meet new people. I wish it was that easy! Not everything can go to plan. You might not find anywhere to live. Your dream job doesn’t find you a ‘dream’. You don’t understand the customs and you haven’t met anyone because you cannot speak the language! It is important to have realistic expectations when moving abroad that things may not be as plain sailing as you had hoped. My best advice is to go with the flow, get the practicalities sorted out first and then the fun should start.
Start Exploring and Having Fun
If things haven’t gone to plan, persevere and start exploring and having fun. Forget about finding somewhere to live and getting a job. Take the time for yourself to get to know your knew home and some of the local customs. This will help you to settle in if you forget about any major problems if you start exploring and having fun. Take the stresses off yourself and have a bit of fun.
Finally, Surviving your First Few Weeks after Moving Overseas
Everyone’s journey is different when moving abroad, but from having done it a number of times, there are things I always do to help me survive those first few weeks. And I’ve listed them in this post. I hope you have the best time as while surviving your first few weeks after moving overseas. I’d love to hear how you survived in the comments following.