10 things you need to know before moving abroad


1. Do Your Homework

You should try and get as much information on your destination as possible. Is there good public transport or do you need a car? What would your living cost be? You should check the prices of items you use frequently and consider essential. What is the exchange rate? What is the weather like? You should also spend some time researching the local laws and customs, the more you know the easier the transition.

Check blogs of people who made a similar move to get insight into their experiences. It can be useful to contact expats living in the country your moving to for advice on the move. If you manage to establish a friendship, this has the added benefit of you already having a new friend in your new home, who can help you settle in and make the transition a little less daunting.     

2. Know the countries health policies

Find out about the health policies of your destination country, you may be covered by your NHS contributions, you should find this out and make sure you have coverage in your new residence. You will have to notify your GP of your move, you should also check with your GP of any vaccines that you may need prior to your move. More can be read at: https://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/movingabroad/Pages/Introduction.aspx.

3. Notify the relevant authorities that your leaving

Before moving you need to contact the: 

·         Social Security Office

·         HM Revenue & Customs

·         Department of Work & Pensions

·         Your GP

More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/living-abroad 

4. Arrange visas

You will require a visa to reside in your new country, you should be aware if you are arranging your own immigration or if your employer is supplying your work permit or visa. If you are arranging your own immigration, to ensure your paperwork is correct it is advised to seek the help of an immigration lawyer or a visa agency. You should make sure you understand the relevant immigration laws and are aware of any submission deadlines.

If you’re moving with Teach Globally sponsorship for your visa will be provided by the school that employs you.

5. Shipping your belongings

Remember the more you take with you, the more it will cost for shipping, so you should only move items that are essential. A good way of going about this is make a list of all your belongings, this will make it easier for you to visibly see how much you are taking and choose what does and does not make the final cut. You should then arrange a home visit with a removal company, so that you can be sure of the volume of your goods.

When arranging your belongings to be shipped it is advised to obtain quotes from at least 3 removal companies to make sure you get the best price. You should give your chosen international removal company at least one months’ notice, it is advisable to give even more notice in the summer is this is usually a particularly busy time for removal companies. Your international removal firm will be able to provide you with details of your destination country’s customs requirements for importing household goods.     

6. Don’t rush into buying an apartment, make an informed choice

One of the most important decisions of your move is finding the right place to live. It is useful to do research beforehand for homes to buy or rent. This will also give you insight into living costs and what you can expect for your price range. However, you must remember you will only be able to get a true feel of the neighbourhood once you get there, and since this is your basepoint it is vital that you enjoy living in the area and have easy access to your frequent stopping points.

Make sure you find accommodation for the first few weeks whilst you search for a more permanent residence, one option is staying in a hotel, but this can get expensive; more affordable short-term accommodation can be found through websites such as Airbnb or staying in hostels or guesthouses. Furthermore, you will often find you can haggle a better price in person than if you were to find accommodation online and sometimes guesthouses will offer discount rates if you plan to stay long-term, especially in the off-season. 

If you are moving with Teach Globally you will be assisted in finding accommodation that suits your needs.  

7. Be aware of international finance issues

When purchasing local currency shop around to find the best exchange rate, remember airports often give far less favourable exchange rates than outside services. If using the same bank account from your home country make sure the bank doesn’t charge a high premium for international transactions. Also, it is useful to have a safety credit card, this way if you lose your wallet you still have access to some money. Your bank card can be replaced but it will be sent to your registered home address not your overseas address, thus regaining access is often a lengthy process.

Before moving you should research all the documents you require to open a bank account in the country and make sure you take everything you need with you. Remember, if you need to make international payments there will be fees and exchange rates involved, this can often be more expensive when done through your bank, so make sure you search for the best deal first; PayPal often offers competitive rates. Also, make sure you understand how taxes will apply to you in your new residence and in the UK. More can be read on this at https://www.gov.uk/tax-right-retire-abroad-return-to-uk.

8. Actively seek to be part of the community

When moving to a new country not knowing anyone is the quickest way to feel homesick. Talk to as many people as possible, be open to making friends with anyone, whether it be the local coffee shop owner, or your neighbours, make an effort to make as many friends as possible; this will help you settle into your new home much quicker. Try joining classes or engaging in activities with a social environment, this can be taking up yoga, going to art class, or taking cooking lessons, literally anything that tickles your fancy. This is a good way of getting to know likeminded people and gives you a productive escape that you can look forward to. Try to say yes as much as possible, be open to exploring the local culture, and take advantage of as many opportunities as you can, you never know where it might lead or who you might meet.

If you are new to the language and worried about this, there are many excellent online language courses i.e. Rosetta stone, that can quickly let you learn some useful phrases. But remember learning a new language is a lengthy process and don’t be put off by not knowing the local language, you’ll be surprised how much you pick up engaging with the locals; don’t feel self-conscious about sounding silly, people will appreciate the effort you are making. You can also take classes in the local language and this may be another good way of getting to know people.  

If you are moving with Teach Globally Mandarin lessons are included.

9. Get a local number

When you start socialising with locals, they won’t want to be calling or texting your foreign number as it’s too expensive, so make sure you get a local number as soon as possible. To keep in contact with friends and family back home download apps such as Skype or WhatsApp, where you can use the internet to message and chat for free.

10. Remember to have fun

Don’t let the stress of moving and the uncertainty of living in a new country weigh on you, embrace the experience and make the most of your move!



Team T.G