Relocation to a foreign country for work can be very exciting and lead to unique opportunities that couldn’t be accessed in your home country. At the same time however, the process of moving is often stressful and costly. The good news is that many employers offer relocation assistance to bring in the tech talent they need. The transition might initially seem difficult, but with these useful tips, you might find that working in a foreign country is within your grasp.
You can never do too much research! The more you know about the country and city you want to move to, the less stressful your move will be. Learning about the weather, the tech scene, the work-life balance, the income tax rates, and other features of the country will prepare you for what life will be like there. It’s also good to know if you can get away with speaking English while you’re there or if you need to learn the local language. Websites like Expatica may be a good starting point for your research.
If you know anyone from the place you intend to relocate to, ask them about their country. They can give you some advice on how to make the move. If you don’t have friends with knowledge of your target location, do not hesitate to ask your future co-workers once you have accepted a job. Facebook groups, Quora, Reddit, or forums related to your potential new home city can also be a useful resource.
An even better way to know whether or not the country you intend to relocate to is the right fit for you is to visit! Seeing something online versus being there in person are very different experiences. By visiting, you can see everything with your own eyes, have conversations with the locals, walk the streets of the city or town, and explore the area.
You might find that you immediately fall in love with the country and the decision to move becomes a complete no brainer. Or you might find that the idea of the country you had in your head is very different from the reality of how the country really is. You’ll never definitely know for sure unless you go and see for yourself.
Not all relocation packages are created equal, so figure out beforehand what the company hiring you will and won’t offer in terms of relocation support. Some employers are only able to cover basic moving costs, for example linked to a visa. Others may be able to offer you a comprehensive set of relocation perks (work visa sponsorship, coverage of flight costs, temporary lodging, etc.). This is highly dependent on the age and size of the company, its financial performance.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Most companies can be flexible in their offerings. By informing your future employer about your specific moving needs, you can help them identify what set of relocation benefits will make your transition smoother. This resource lists the most popular relocation perks offered by tech employers when recruiting from abroad.
Before moving, one practical step to take would be determining the cost of living in your new locale. Every city and every country can have different costs of living. In order to ensure that your budget can account for the living expense you will have once you relocate, it is best to do your research beforehand. If you are relocating for a higher salary, that raise might vanish if you move to a city with a higher cost of living. You can use tools like net pay salary calculators, Numbeo, and Teleport to determine whether your new salary will pay the bills in the location where you want to live and work.
Relocating to a different country means the opportunity to make new friends and connections! As soon as you arrive in the new city, you can use resources like Meetup and InterNations to connect with like-minded locals and expats. Forge relationships in and outside of work. It will help you to keep a work-life balance and make friendships with people of different backgrounds. The faster you build new social connections, the happier and safer you’ll feel in the new place.
Your relocation package may already provide temporary lodgings for you, but if not, it is preferable to avoid committing to a long-term lease immediately. Consider renting short-term accommodations with websites like Airbnb or Wimdu.
Visiting the country beforehand can give you a better idea of the neighborhoods you would like to live in, but it would be more convenient to allow yourself time after you’ve moved to the target city to explore various neighborhoods and find the one best suited for your lifestyle and needs. You can ask around at your workplace for advice on the best places to avoid or seek out.
If you have a family, especially if you have children, their needs factor into these decisions as well. Be sure to conduct research about the best school districts, clubs, or sports that your children might be interested in. This can influence your decision on what neighborhood you want to live in as well. If your spouse currently works, you can support them by learning about potential career opportunities for them in the new country. This way you can both flourish as a result of this lifestyle change.
Every country is wonderfully unique but at the end of the day, there are many parts of human life that we all have in common and that transcend borders. You may be relocating to a new country with a new culture but that doesn’t mean that every aspect of your life needs to change. You can find ways of maintaining your existing hobbies and routines, which can help to keep you grounded while you adjust to your new surroundings. Your mental health and everyday happiness are of paramount importance. Moving one street over can be a task within itself. Moving to a completely new country can be a shock. Keeping your hobbies and revisiting your favorite activities can give you comfort as you adjust to your new life.
In conclusion, moving to a new country is a significant task that can be incredibly rewarding. The relocation process from start to finish can seem intimidating but with thorough planning and strong motivation, you are capable of making this change. Working abroad is unlike anything else. You open yourself up to new perspectives and experiences. If you have the opportunity to do it, don’t let your doubts hold you back.
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