Not everyone looks forward to an expatriate relocation, especially if it means moving to an unfamiliar area in an unfamiliar country. Relocations, however, can be exciting and rewarding, providing you with an experience that is unique and unforgettable. In fact, many Canadians who have gone through an expat relocation experience say that the move changed them and gave them a whole new perspective they otherwise would never have if they had stayed home.
To help you avoid common relocation mistakes so you make the most out of your experience, here are a few relocation tips you might find useful:
Unless your expatriate arrangements are temporary, it is quite possible that you may have to leave many of your belongings behind. Aside from the physical aspects of letting go of your personal things, there is also the emotional side, so be prepared. Very often, you will have to get rid of stuff you’ve owned for many years, sell or give them away.
Months ahead of your move, choose which items to bring with you and which ones to leave behind. Look at the practical application of everything. If you can buy it or find a substitute where you are going, then leave it.
Different countries mean different laws and different cultures. Expatriate relocation can often equal culture shock, particularly if you have no prior exposure to or knowledge about the region.
Make it easy tip: If you can, you might consider visiting the country first to get a feel of the place. If that is not possible, do your research by going online or asking other people who have either visited or lived in the area about their experiences.
The worst thing you can do about relocating as an expat is to try to be spontaneous. Keep in mind that you will be moving to another country that may have laws and practices that are different from what you are used to.
Make it easy tip: Make sure that all the most important aspects of moving are taken care of in advance – the moving company, the house, the facilities, schools, transportation, contact persons, etc. Write down all the names, addresses, contact numbers and other information about the individuals and companies you will work with. The sooner you get your support network in place, the less likely you will make mistakes.
Do not assume that all finance-related transactions in other countries will be similar to those practiced in Canada. You may be surprised at the type of paperwork and other requirements banks, credit card companies, lenders and other institutions may ask for in order for you to perform the simplest transactions.
Do your research about banking, taxes and other related financial matters and make sure all your documents are updated, authenticated if necessary and signed. Scan the documents and keep both electronic and hard copies for reference.
Moving overseas can be daunting but if it means getting one step closer to your goals or making a dream come true, then go for it. However, be mindful of what you are getting yourself into. Differences between your country and another country can be like night and day, something that may be unpleasant if you are unprepared.
If you are looking into relocating to a different country, we at Canuck Abroad can help you. We provide information about almost every country in the world and have a very active travel forum with thousands of members sharing their experiences.