You’re moving abroad. Hell yeah! It’s quite a feat to make it through the entire process without a couple of minor freak outs / cry sessions / pulling your hair out. Packing up your life and moving somewhere completely can be overwhelming and difficult—but is 110% worth the effort. Just keep focusing on that first cup of coffee from that adorable street side cafe to get you through the rough patches.
To help make your transition to expat life abroad a little smoother, here are my best tips on what NOT to forget when preparing to find jobs abroad (and uproot your life to move there!).
5 little extra’s to do before moving abroad
1. Collect loved ones’ addresses & store them digitally.
I’m a self-proclaimed spreadsheet nut—and Google Sheets rarely lets me down—but, my advice to you is to find a digital storage strategy that works for you and then make a point of collecting the contact info of your friends and family (and maybe those other folks who’ve helped you along the way) before you go. Doing this will improve the likelihood that you actually follow through with that goal of sending snail mail back home every now and then.
You’ll thank yourself when you find that perfect postcard for Becky and can plop it in the mail as a true surprise—not after sending a “Hey girl, can I get yo’ address… for no certain reason…” message on WhatsApp or Facebook.
2. Set aside “welcome home” funds.
I know you’ve been really focused on building your savings account for your life abroad, but one unexpected expense that you should plan for is all the money you’re going to want to spend your first days coming back! Happy hour catch ups, daily trips to Chipotle, a last-minute-weekend-trip with your friends to the mountains… these expenses can add up quick (especially when they’re not planned for). We recommend setting aside $200-$500 in a new savings account—whatever you can swing—as your “Back Home From Abroad” fund. Then you won’t have any financial stresses as you get to know your hometown again!
3. Figure out your getting-money-from-abroad-into-your-US-bank-account-plan.
If you’re moving abroad for the long haul, you are probably going to want to open up a bank account in your new home. This can make getting paid a lot easier, and having a debit card for the country you’re now working in can save you hefty fees in the long run (not to mention make making purchases a whole lot easier). If you do end up having a second international bank account, be cognizant of how you move those funds from abroad into your US bank account. Transferring funds can also add up quick (as international wire transfers generally costs $15+ per transaction), so we recommend making a few lump transfers rather than doing them regularly.
4. Make a strategy for easy-access to your passwords.
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to login to your email account, your bank account, or your favorite social media accounts from a new international IP address than to be dinged with two-step verification or a requirement to login again. D’oh! Write down your passwords somewhere safe and secure, and detach your US phone number from login steps (since you will likely have a new SIM card and phone number once you move abroad). It may seem like a pain to put together right now, but trust us—it’ll (seriously) smooth out some potentially VERY annoying experiences abroad.
5. Take a deep breath & set some intentions.
The purpose of your travels is more than just an adventure. It’s more than a new byline on your resume. It’s more than an experiment in hedonism.
Going abroad is our way of giving the world a chance. It’s saying that we don’t want to continue pursuing our Americentric lives—we seek to understand, to learn, to come home with new insights about the world at large. Without taking the time to reflect and set intentions as to what you hope to learn as an expat abroad, you risk returning with nothing more than a hangover and some new photos. Decide to go deeper in your travels, be an ambassador for the US abroad (hey, we’re not all that bad, are we…?), make connections with locals, commit to learning more about yourself, and be humble and patient in your learning.
Prepare your heart—you’ll be having a life changing experience abroad in no time.
You’re now ready to move abroad!
You’ve got a plan to store your stuff (#ThanksMom&Dad), you’ve wrapped up your job/schooling/internship, and you’ve purchased that international plane ticket. As you continue preparing to work abroad, keep these tips in mind to really make your transition a productive, smooth, and dare-we-say fun? one. Just remember to complete these five things you forgot to prepare before moving abroad!
There are at least 7.5 million Bangladeshis who live overseas. Many across various parts of the world but in particular in the Middle East (such as in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - home to Dubai and Abu Dhabi) as well as in the Western world such as in the UK, the United States and Canada.
Watch more below:
There are over 31 million Indians, both Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO), who live abroad. No other country in the world has as many of their compatriots living abroad as what India has, which just Indian citizens alone numbers at over 15 million people. Indians can be found across many countries in the world. In fact, in some countries such as in the UAE, they even make up the largest nationality (not just foreigners but as a whole). See the top 10 countries with the most Indians living abroad by population.
Enjoy our video here!
There are over 5.5 million Brits who live overseas. Take a look at our recent production compiling a list of the top 10 destination for British citizens who live abroad!
There are almost 3 million Canadians who live abroad. Significant given that there are only 37 million Canadians living in Canada! Follow our new series exploring other nationalities starting with the Canadians - enjoy!
Many thanks to Feed Spot for recognizing Young American Expat and this new initiative as the top 20 American expat blogs and websites to follow in 2018!
See below here for ours and also the other amazing 19 blogs:
Hello, my name is Jason, some friends call me Jay and my journey started in July of 2014 when I sold my house along with all of my possessions to move to Costa Rica and start a completely new life 5600 kilometers away. The only possession I did not sell was my truck because I still plan to ship it to Costa Rica one day, it’s my baby because I don’t have any kids. To be frank my adventure started about 15 years when I first took a vacation to Costa Rica with my girlfriend at the time, her uncle and grandparents owned a hotel so we had it made. This trip is what sparked my love for this amazing country and also implanted a travel bug. I always felt the urge to go live in another county so one day I just said F it, I’m going!
I have always been an entrepreneur and have owned a few businesses back home in Canada so when I came to Costa Rica I had big plans to start a business. My initial plans of having a cable wake board park fell through because a business partner and I had a falling out but I have met some amazing people along the way and ended up opening a ropes course adventure tour in Jaco, Costa Rica which is very exciting. This business is cool because it is really rewarding when a client comes a little scared but you get to see them face their fears and at the end of it all they are so happy feeling this sense of accomplishment. I think that in life you have to face your fears or you will not grow and I would be lying to you if I wasn’t a little bit afraid of starting a drastically new life in a country so far away, not to mention that I didn’t even know how to speak Spanish. I now understand maybe 40% hearing, can write 50% and read 75%. Watching movies with subtitles on has helped me a lot. My best advice for people looking to travel or move abroad is to learn the language especially if you are going to start a business. If you are starting a business abroad you will want to plan to have a lot more money than you initially planned on paper in your business plan, you better have a business plan! My money ran out quicker than I had imagined, this is usually the case with start-ups but I think especially abroad because there are so many unknowns.
I would recommend that you actually visit and spend some time at the place that you plan to move your LIFE to. I went for 2 vacation/business planning trips before I made the move but I had a condo lease agreement on the 2nd trip and the whole time I had it in mind that I was moving here. I kind of jumped in but that’s just my personality. I have no regrets but I hear stories of people that do regret moving to such an immensely different country. I think most people have a hard time with the language barrier and I will be honest it’s tough but that’s motivation to learn.
Costa Rica has been a great country to make a new home, the people are friendly and it is very safe. I mean there is some crimes, mostly robberies but I don’t know many places where that’s not the case unfortunately. I have never felt threatened but our office has been broken in to a few times, nothing major got stolen and one time they only got the milk. The hardest part about having a business in Costa Rica is dealing with “tico time” ticos are the locals and they don’t really seem to understand how time works. After living here I am partially convinced that time is just an allusion. I will say that the country is amazing and I would recommend moving here but don’t expect it to be easy.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Jason is an entrepreneur and a world traveler who enjoys getting to know new cultures and new people. His roots in Canada have taught him to be adventurous and explore new experiences. This leads him to travel to and move to new countries. Currently, he is enjoying his life in Costa Rica and is almost certain that he will never return to Canada as a home but will visit lots. His company A-1 Auto Transport helps expats relocate around the globe which he is proud of. He enjoys writing about his experiences as an expat to help others make the move from their mundane life. When he is not writing he enjoys relaxing at the beach and surfing with his friends. He believes that life is short and everyone needs to make the actions to live a life that is worth living and you need to follow your dreams. Being an expat and traveling is Jason’s dream along with new business ventures.
A glimpse in the life and understanding of the world of the young expatriate, or commonly known as "expat." For those in their 30s and under, young expats can be found across all parts of the world and have their own intentions and motivations for going abroad. Nevertheless, their experience abroad definitely helps them understand not just more about the world but also more about themselves. Presented by Young American Expat - April 2018. Watch below or click here.
Here is a collection of interesting Top 10 facts about people who live abroad. The expatriate, or commonly known as "expat," are around 3.2% of the world's population. Video presented by Young American Expat, the online digital showcase of the 9 million Americans living abroad.
Watch video below or click here.
Originally published on The PIE News in July 2017
International educators spend their lives working with international students, but it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be one. Colleen Boland of Young American Expat reflects on some of the things that have surprised her as an American studying in the UK and Spain.
When I decided to embark on higher education abroad, I have to admit that I was pretty unprepared for the variances in education by country, perhaps due to a largely American worldview and a bit too much presumption. I did study abroad in Italy during my undergraduate degree, but it was through my American university, and the classes were therefore adapted to the American experience. My first truly different learning experience was earning a master’s in London, before embarking on my currently underway doctorate in Spain.
For any perfectionist student, grading is the first thing that strikes you. In England, I discovered through my first grade that the sliding scale does not reach 100. It’s as if no one is perfect enough to reach that level of excellence. And it makes sense, if you are comparing yourself with past greats. High 70s were an achievement, and 80 practically unobtainable. Getting a grade in the 60s, thought it’s not even close to failing, is difficult to swallow at first.
Spain in general grades on a 1-10 scale – a prospect that terrifies me, as I enjoy the wiggle room of the 100 scale (the ability to get an 84 instead of an 8, for example). But unlike England, 10 is an achievable number, reserved for the most excellent students. Luckily, in my doctorate, classes are pass/fail, with the assumption that if you’ve made it this far in education, you are going to produce acceptable work – and if not, you should discontinue the effort.
Attire and etiquette
I found that the UK classes had teachers that were a bit more formally attired than in Spain, but still a bit less formal than my professors from the US. Student style was also relatively casual. Of course, students don’t show up in sweatpants to class like they may on some US college campuses, because no one wears sweatpants outside of the gym. In Spain, the professors dress even more casually, sometimes as reflection of what they study (in my case, sociology professors seem to have a more artistic side!). Jeans and leggings are not out of place among the educational staff in Spain. Older school professors still wear a collared shirt, as they hail from more conservative days.
Eating during lectures is an absolute no-no in either country, perhaps reflecting the fact that it is less customary to “eat on the go” as we sometimes do in the US. The Spanish in particular are very careful to sit down for their meals, and set aside time for it, and sometimes that may mean if there isn’t time, then no eating at all. Water bottles are allowed. The discussion format in both UK and Spain seems to be more lecture-based than we may engage in stateside. It’s notable that American students seem to have more training in presenting and speaking in front of large groups.
In Spain, a class never starts on time, or ends on time. There are some professors that will be annoyed if you get there later than them, though. The Brits of course are a bit more punctual, as they are reputed to be!
Administration is a bit more laborious, complicated and bureaucratic in both the UK and Spain than in the US. Both my universities, the School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London and the Complutense University of Madrid, are public. Facilities are much more drab than you would find on an American campus that costs $40,000 a year. However, tuition for British students in the UK is up to £9,000 a year (it has nearly tripled in recent years, in the face of a lot of protest), and my doctorate in Spain is basically free.
And, because it’s public, the state documentation is very rigorous, and there are practically no exceptions to all of the mandatory forms and documentation that are required. In Spain, I have spent countless hours trying to get registered, literally waiting in line at the register for two hours one time, and having to go to banks to get taxes paid. It’s part of that bargain price!
I found that I gained a whole new appreciation for students in the United States who are not native English speakers, by having to study in a foreign language and communicate on an academic level. I also found that because of the European environment, students and professors are much more understanding of language issues and struggling with the native tongue.
In the UK it was a simple matter of setting the spellcheck to British English and double-checking for misspellings, but in Spain, of course, it has been more difficult. I have often encountered that people appreciate your effort, which I find very kind and encouraging. I have often had to ask fellow classmates to repeat something that was said, or for help understanding an assignment.
In sum, things are different, and it can throw you off. But the environment is usually welcoming, and the focus is on academia rather than the bells and whistles, which to a true lover of knowledge, can never be a bad thing!