Six Things I Learned From Moving Abroad


Moving to a new country can be a long and stressful experience. No matter how much research you do in advance there will always be a few little surprises along the way to learn from, particularly if you are planning to move for a significant period of time with a large quantity of personal belongings. After moving with Steven from the UK to Melbourne, Australia in October last year there were a few things I discovered that may help to make your move abroad a little bit easier.

If you are moving from a house or apartment that you own (or even from a rental where you own the furniture) and shipping a portion of the furniture to your new country of residence then allow yourself plenty of time. This will take longer than you think. It is advisable to book into a hotel or Airbnb for a few days between your belongings being collected from your old home and the date you expect to fly out to your new one. Packing up an entire house can take a whole day, even with the assistance of an expert international removal team and once this task is done there may still be jobs to do before handing over the keys to new owners or tenants. These may include cleaning and repainting to cover damage as well as selling, donating or disposal of any last minute furniture or personal items that were not included in the international removals e.g. beds, kitchen items, linens and white goods. Having a few days to sort this out will make your move smoother and less stressful.

Once your belongings have been collected from your old home you will have an estimated delivery window for when you can expect to receive them at your new country of residence. Be aware that this delivery window is only an estimate and there are no guarantees that your shipment will arrive on time, especially when you are sharing a shipping container with someone else. Make sure you are prepared for delays.

If you intend to work upon arrival in your new country make sure to have all the necessary original paperwork with you, as well as certified copies of the main types of paperwork you may be asked for : identification documents such as drivers licenses or passports, birth certificates, university certificates, university transcripts, police checks you have undergone etc. While you will generally remember to take originals of documents with you, trying to obtain certified copies of documents in a new country can be significantly more difficult than in a country you are familiar with. Having certified copies to hand can save you time in your new home trying to find places to make photocopies and locating qualified professionals to carry out the certification process.

Make a list of all the addresses you will need to change in the months leading up to your move. There can be a surprising amount of places that want to send mail to you and having a list will make the process much smoother. After moving it is also a good idea to keep a list of the places that you register your address as you start to sign up for new products and services. This will make it much smoother when you need to move again since you will be prepared for carrying out the process again.

A couple of days before the move ensure you de-activate or update your 2 step verification for all websites where you have this feature activated. 2-step verification will frequently use your mobile phone number to allow access to sites where you require higher levels of security. After cancelling your mobile contract and moving abroad it can be problematic to gain access without the ability to use your old phone number. If you have a sim card that you intend to use on arrival in your new country, update the mobile number to your new one. If not, disable 2 step verification until you can get a new sim card. If you don’t do this then as soon as your websites realise you are trying to log in from a new location they will lock you out. I found the website very useful in locating the places I needed to disable my 2-step verification prior to moving.

Be aware of the job market in the area you want to move to. Do your research before moving and look at how many jobs are available for your specific skill set. While there might be a high volume of jobs for the broad area that you work in, examining the finer details of what companies are looking for may show that your individual skills fit only a small portion of the roles available. There can be many additional obstacles such as the time of year. Companies will be seeking employees less actively around the Christmas and New Year period so be aware of this.

Of course these are just a few of the things that we have learned throughout the process of moving to another country. If you have been in a similar situation and would like to add anything to the discussion leave a comment below and share your own experience.

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