There was a time when I wanted to move away from my quaint Texas home. In fact, I wanted to go to college in Alaska or Canada. I wasn’t trying to get away from my family- I just wanted to see something different. After all, living in the same state for most of your life can get dull.
The funny thing is, I never made that move and I attended a university in Texas. I filled out my out-of-state college applications but never submitted them. I suppose now I spend my time looking back on the what-ifs. I probably would’ve like Alaska.
So are you going to be like me and not take the plunge? Or are you actively searching for a job abroad?
Instead of scrolling through your friends’ Instagram accounts and wishing you had their jobs, read my guide on how to get started and what you should do when you’re there.
1. Find an employer that will ease your transition
If you’re going to move your life to another country, then you’re better off choosing a company that will accommodate the changes. The new employer should offer a decent relocation package and enough compensation to cover the cost of living; remember to research the cost of living to ensure you’re not significantly cutting your income.
Good employers also assist you in getting a visa, offer temporary housing or money for temporary housing, pay for the packing and shipping of your personal things, help you sell your home, and sometimes offer to help your significant other find a job.
A good company will also clarify local laws, taxes, and leases when there’s a language barrier.
2. Compare the work-life balance
Countries vary in work-life balance norms. You should study the country norm for work hours, compensation, and vacation days and compare it to your potential employer’s package and your current package.
You may find that the U.S. actually offers less in terms of vacation days and benefits; however, European countries expect three months notice before quitting instead of the U.S. standard of two weeks notice.
3. Read the rules of your visa
There are different types of work visas. Some visas require you to return home if you quit or are terminated from your position, which makes sense if the employer takes the time to assist with your visa.
You also want to start the visa process well in advance because it’s not something you can accomplish last minute. The process of getting a visa can take a month or longer.
And don’t forget to carry your visa with your passport when you’re traveling abroad.
4. Understand the tax laws
Every country has their own tax laws and banking regulations, but you’ll still be required to report your taxes to the U.S. IRS
Whether you’ll be a U.S. employee on assignment or simply a new employee in a new country plays a significant part on how your income is taxed by the IRS.
5. Get a credit card before you leave
Getting credit in a new country is difficult. Get a credit card with an international company in your home country and then transfer it when you move.
6. Figure out the best bank ahead of time
Research to find the best bank in your new country before the move. You should factor in the bank’s minimums, how long it takes to transfer and process transactions, and how user-friendly their online banking is. It also helps to get a letter of reference from your current bank.
7. Find a posse
Moving to a new country can get lonely, even if you’re moving with your significant other and your family. Make some friends by joining a class or start a hobby where you could meet like-minded people. There are also plenty of websites and apps that connect people and groups.
8. Understand the culture and language
This one is a given; every country has their own culture and language/accent, so you need to study to overcome language and cultural barriers. Read books and watch their popular movies and shows so you understand basic conversation, humor, and slang.
9. Don’t bring everything
Sell off as much of your personal belonging as possible. The process of moving to a foreign country is mind-boggling enough and a heavy load of personal items will likely weigh you down more, mentally and physically. Try renting furnished apartments and then slowly accumulating furniture and other goods as time goes on.
10. Try different transportation methods
If you’re in a metropolitan area, then you may find that traveling via bus, taxi, or walking is easier and cheaper than driving a car. Getting used to transportation is more of a trial-and-error. Try the different modes of transportation to figure out the most efficient way to get around, but do this before your first day so you’re prepared and arrive on time.