Beginner’s Guide to Moving Abroad

By on August 6, 2018

By Jessica Hanson—

You’ve finally decided to do it. After a few months – or maybe even years – of sitting on an idea, you’ve made up your mind to change the environment and move abroad. And why not do it if it can offer you a better life quality?

Still, if it’s your first time going – or moving – abroad, there are several things that you might want to keep in mind. Some may be related to your mental health, others may be more organizationally related. Preparing beforehand will ensure that you won’t go back home with your tail between your legs.

  • Give It Some Time

You woke up this morning and you’ve decided that you’ve had it with your country and that you want to move abroad. You can’t just book a plane ticket and then leave.

Well, technically speaking, you can. But it’s not recommended. Think about the logistics of it all: you have visas to deal with, you have utilities to set, jobs to find, amends to settle – you can’t just pack your toys and go.

Plus, what if it’s a decision you’ll regret later. What if this “spur of the moment” feeling won’t be the same in three months’ time? Ideally, you should give it six months or so before you move away.

During that time, sure, you should focus on things such as finding accommodation, a job, learning the language, or getting your visa. If after half a year you are still set on going, then there should not be any doubt that this is the right move for you.

  • Avoid Going Home Too Early

It’s going to be very tempting, we know. You see that cheap flight and you think “hey, why don’t I go home for a bit? So what if I just left one month ago, it’s just a quick break.”

If you do that, though, here’s what’s going to happen: you will walk into every store and won’t be struggling with handling money or telling people what you want to buy. You already know how to handle that. You’ll also be seeing all your friends and family, and everyone at your grandfather’s birthday party will be there to show you how much you are really loved.

In comparison to that, living alone in a foreign country will look very lonely. You know that you have nothing there yet, so the temptation to remain home will be great. Plus, what stories will you have to tell your friends and family at that point? “Uh, I learned how to buy bread.” Not cool. “I have a stable job and I made many friends there.” Very cool.

  • Learn the Basic Language

You don’t have to learn that language by heart. Chances are that, in many countries, you will come across many people that know basic English. Still, in case they don’t, you should make sure that you learn the BIG Four: “Thank You,” “Please,” “Hello,” and “Goodbye.” Plus, besides those words, you might also want to add these into your vocabulary: here, where, three, two, one, that, this, you, me.

  • Ready Your Documentation

Before everything else, you need to have a passport. If you are part of the European Union, the chances are that you won’t even need a passport; you’ll probably only be asked for an ID. However, if your plan is to go way beyond, then you need to ensure that your passport will be valid for at least six months prior to your departure.

If you don’t know your return date, that’s ok. If your passport expires, you can go to the local embassy and renew it there. There won’t even be a need for you to return home.

Last but not least, make sure that you have the documentation ready for your visa. Think about what you are opting for: do you want a student visa, or a regular citizen one? If you are going as a student, you will have to offer proof that you can support yourself during your stay.

Depending on where you are going, you may not be able to get all your papers ready when you hop onto the plane. Also, depending on the country, you may have to wait one or two months until you are accepted as a citizen. This is why it is recommended that you save up some money beforehand – so that you can support yourself.

  • Get a Full Physical

When you get there, the chances are that you won’t have a health care provider, you won’t have all documentation – basically, you’ll be struggling to prove yourself there. Therefore, if you suddenly get sick when you just got there, there might not be any way for you to see a doctor – without coughing up a ton of money first.

If you want to avoid any surprises, get yourself checked, and bring a medicine supply with you – obviously, with a prescription. This will help avoid any unfortunate circumstances.

  • Pack Smart

Unless you are planning to move there permanently, there’s no reason for you to pack your whole house. The golden rule would be: pack half your clothes and twice your money. Even if you plan to have the rest of your things shipped, you don’t have to carry it all with you in one go.

If you want to make a permanent move, it might be more logical to sell your things rather than bringing them with you. Shipping can cost a ton and selling can save you a lot of money – which you can use to buy new things. Unless they hold some sort of sentimental value, you don’t have to carry furniture, bedding, or kitchen appliances with you. You can just buy them there.

Final Thoughts

As long as you follow the right steps, moving abroad should not be posing any problems. Sure, it’s bound to be scary, since you’ll be making a major change in your life – but with time, it will become easier. Before you know it, the craziness will go down and you’ll be able to call that new place “home.”


Jessica is the head of content for Hire A Box – her father’s moving company. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling around the world to different surf spots and tasting the local cuisine.

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Beginner’s Guide to Moving Abroad