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How to Successfully Move Abroad

Updated on October 28, 2015

Where Are You Headed?

In life, one of the biggest adjustments that anyone could face is relocation. That challenge is multiplied when you are moving outside of their home country to live abroad. The struggles presented can range from homesickness to unexpected expenses, but with a little preparation before the big trip you can feel prepped and ready for whatever the future road holds. The best way to tackle the problems? Confront them before they confront you.

Suitcase.
Suitcase. | Source

Pack Your Bags

When you’re preparing your bags for an international trip, it’s vital to keep it simple. Clothes are important, of course, but in an international move you’ll be wanting more than your favorite pair of jeans. There’s a number of items you’ll want to consider packing, depending on the category.

For Your Free Time

• A season or two on DVD of your favorite TV show, a luxury you may not otherwise have overseas.

• It may sound funny, but packing a small puzzle or brain teaser can keep your hands and mind occupied on quiet days home.

• Books. They may weigh a little more (I favor paperbacks), but after a few months travelling abroad while relying on eBooks, I knew that I had to get a few solid books to travel with. To me, the real book is worth the weight—my most recent splurge? The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. The paperback is pretty heavy, but it’s a treat to own…and it’s fitting in my suitcase, no matter what.

• If you have any hobbies, it may be easy enough to travel with your supplies. Yarn and needles for crocheting or knitting, thread and beads for jewelry making, or a small sketchbook and pencil are easily transportable. If you enjoy puzzles, crosswords or word finds can be nice to have on your quiet days at home.

Making Your New Place Home

• Pictures of family and friends take up hardly any space and will add a level of familiarity to your new dwellings. Photos are easy to display—no frames necessary. An easy DIY way to display your pictures? Tack two loose ends of thick string up against your wall and use mini clothespins to hang your photos.

• It may sound completely unnecessary, but some have found bringing a small candle of their favorite scent to be completely worth it. After a stressful or long day, lighting up a candle that reminds you of home can create a relaxing and happy atmosphere.

• If you don’t have room to pack one, be sure to buy a one or two cozy blankets to have for your own use. It seems like a small gesture, but it can help your space feel warm and welcoming on even the coldest days.

• Keep it simple—yet use the resources you have to your advantage. It’ll be the place you’ll spend a lot of your time, and it pays to keep it homey.

Keep it Sentimental

It’s natural to become homesick when living abroad. Don’t hesitate to make room for items that will comfort you on the days you miss home. A childhood toy, a special family photo, or a collection of letters can brighten a gloomy day. Finding Yourself Far From Home You’ve finally made it—twenty or so hours later and you have found yourself thousands of miles away from home. Now that you’ve reached your destination, it’s vital to organize a routine and become familiar with your new home away from home

Your Thoughts

Have You Ever Lived Abroad?

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Making Your New Place Home

• Pictures of family and friends take up hardly any space and will add a level of familiarity to your new dwellings. Photos are easy to display—no frames necessary. An easy DIY way to display your pictures? Tack two loose ends of thick string up against your wall and use mini clothespins to hang your photos.

• It may sound completely unnecessary, but some have found bringing a small candle of their favorite scent to be completely worth it. After a stressful or long day, lighting up a candle that reminds you of home can create a relaxing and happy atmosphere.

• If you don’t have room to pack one, be sure to buy a one or two cozy blankets to have for your own use. It seems like a small gesture, but it can help your space feel warm and welcoming on even the coldest days.

• Keep it simple—yet use the resources you have to your advantage. It’ll be the place you’ll spend a lot of your time, and it pays to keep it homey.

Make Your Home Unique to You

Cat on a couch,
Cat on a couch, | Source

Keep it Sentimental

It’s natural to become homesick when living abroad. Don’t hesitate to make room for items that will comfort you on the days you miss home. A childhood toy, a special family photo, or a collection of letters can brighten a gloomy day. Finding Yourself Far From Home You’ve finally made it—twenty or so hours later and you have found yourself thousands of miles away from home. Now that you’ve reached your destination, it’s vital to organize a routine and become familiar with your new home away from home

Amsterdam.
Amsterdam. | Source

Finding Yourself Far From Home

You've made it to your destination, but the mere sight of so many new things can be instantly overwhelming, leaving a traveler feeling lost and maybe alone. Thankfully, there are many steps one can take to ensure an easy transition.

• Make friends right away. Building relationships is vital to maintaining your joy as you make your life abroad. Meeting people through others can create a unique list of connections that could always work in your favor down the road.

• If it’s safe to do so, take the time to explore the area. Go with a group for maximum benefits—others who know the area will help you get familiar with the best places to go. It will also help you become familiar with any safety protocol you should take when out and about on your own.

• Stay open-minded. It’s easier said than done, but things will likely be done quite differently where you’ve chosen to live abroad than from your home country. Everyone has different viewpoints, and it’s important to stay reasonable.

It's A Big World

Seoul, South Korea
Seoul, South Korea | Source

Keeping in Touch, Staying Busy

It’s great to keep in touch with family and friends, and with video chat, instant messaging, and email, it’s easier than ever. A common mistake is made, however, when those missing their old life too frequently call home. This can hinder the progress of finding an identity away from home and can often contribute to greater homesickness. Schedule times to talk with the ones you miss, and in the meantime, focus on making the best of your new home.

Alayna Market, Turkey

Turkey.
Turkey. | Source

Money, Dinero, and Argent: One in the Same

No matter where we go in the world, it’s nearly impossible to escape economic pressures and the need for money even the smallest business transactions. Many who live abroad often do because business allows it: perhaps teaching a language or working online.

Nothing is guaranteed in life—that’s why it’s important to have a financial plan, especially when living abroad. Be familiar with your savings and keep careful tabs on your expenses. Many who live abroad have found it helpful to have the amount of money needed to get back to their home country set aside in savings. This is particularly helpful when something unexpected comes up and you need to get back home.

Rome, Italy

Campo dei Fiori
Campo dei Fiori | Source

A Life Abroad= Exciting Adventure

Living abroad is an exciting and eye opening experience—nothing should take away from that. Though it can be overwhelming and, at times, quite challenging, with the right mental attitude and preparation living abroad becomes a real possibility.

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