The First 3 Things To Do When You Move Abroad

When you decide to move to another country, hopefully, you follow my 7 Steps To Move To Another Country.  So, when you arrive, you’re set.  You’ll have a Visa, and you’ll know how you’ll make money while living abroad. You may even know (or at least have a good idea) where you’re going to live.   But there’s still some work to do.  Here are the first 3 things you should do when you move abroad.

Tip #1 When You Move Abroad, Get Connected.

You need to buy a phone.  If you’re like me, you travel with an unlocked phone and just need to purchase a SIM card. Or you need the phone and the SIM.

Whatever the case is for you, you need to get connected. You need reliable data and a phone number.  Whenever I move to a new country, after getting settled, getting connected is always the first thing I do.

Having a local number is the first step to becoming a local!

Moving to a new country, there are so many fun things to explore. Having a local number opens the door to many new possibilities. For instance, in the Dominican Republic, Taiwan, and China, they all had delivery service options that you could use with your cell phone—but you had to have a local number to use the service.

Tip #2 When You Move Abroad, Register Locally

Every country has some form of local ID card system. And when you move abroad, your only valid ID card is your passport with you Visa for entry.

And let’s be honest, carrying your passport around for ID is no good. Lock that thing in a safe place until you need to travel.

Plus, if you’re relocating to another country, many countries require you to register with local authorities, which usually requires you to fill out a form and provide a copy of your passport and visa. You may even need to go to a local office in-person.

After a few days (sometimes weeks), you’ll get a local ID card. That ID card verifies that you are, in fact, a legal resident of the country and it allows you to travel lighter, leaving your passport locked in that safe place we talked about.

For more information on registering with local authorities when you move abroad, research your specific country’s residency requirements before you arrive.

Tip #3 When You Move Abroad, Join Stuff

When you move to a new country, it’s easy to wake up surprised that you’re not as happy as you once were. You may even notice that you’ve fallen into a mild depression.

It doesn’t matter that you have roommates and office colleagues or that you go to happy hours, surrounding yourself with people.

But being lonely as a digital nomad or lonely as an expat is pretty normal.

If you’re constantly speaking a foreign language and you miss just being understood—without having to subject yourself and the people around you to your sad attempt at charades as you attempt to buy dinner, or get directions—you’re not alone.

It’s normal.

Joining stuff is the answer.

It’s not enough to go to happy hours with colleagues. When you move abroad you need to immerse yourself in activities.  It’s easy at first to be involved but give it three months, and it’ll be harder to stay involved.

That’s why joining stuff as soon as you move to a new country is so important.  People will start to expect to see you.  And if they don’t see you, they’ll call you. And call you—and call you—until you show up.

That’s friendship.

You can join an international club or your university’s alumni association. Just get involved. Take on responsibilities that make it hard for you to wiggle out and require you to honor your commitments.

Moving abroad is AMAZING, but it’s not easy.  In fact, it can be a downright nightmare because there’s so much to learn, do, and figure out.

I know there are a BAJILLION more things you have to do when you first move abroad, especially if you’re not quite sure about housing and employment. Those are huge (and you should handle them before you move), but these three tips will save you a lot of hassle if you tackle them first when you move abroad.

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