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The 4 Most Important Things to Know When Moving to a New Country

We’re back with another themed week on the site: Travel Week. This semester, Her Campus FSU has created themed weeks dedicated to exclusive content we believe all of our readers should have access to. Keep up on the site for the next few days as we cover everything from the best places you need to roadtrip to before you graduate to the top eats across the pond (that’s London town, for those of you who haven’t brushed up on your British). We promise we’ll leave you wanderlusting for more. After all, summer vacation is just a few weeks away! 

Whether you have ties in your heritage to a certain country, want to escape the outcome of our presidential race or are simply a big fish in a very small pond in need of a new adventure, moving abroad can be an incredible experience and will change your life forever… but you have to do it right.

So you’ve decided on a new country to move to, maybe after graduation- great! But how do you do it? What about a visa? What is that and don’t you need to have one? And wait, living. Where will you live? Are you going to just be homeless in a new country for a little while? Oh gosh, and what about friends? Who will you hang out with and talk to and…

STOP. Take a deep breath. There is a lot to keep in mind moving out of the country, and it is definitely not a simple process, but with enough time to think everything through and organize everything that needs to be done before departure things will move much more smoothly and safely. And while there are a lot of differences in how to move to a new country depending on your final destination, there are still many factors that are crucial to relocation across the board.

Courtesy: KeepCalm-O-Matic

Make Sure Your Documentation is in Order

When moving abroad you will have to stay on top of your visa since in most cases you will have to wait several years before applying to become a citizen, if that is your ultimate goal. You will have to read over, fill out and sign a great deal of paperwork pertaining to the U.S. as well as your intended country of new residency and you need to make copies of all of them. In case you end up in a sticky situation abroad, it will help out immensely to have a copy of absolutely everything you could need. As for particulars, visit government websites for your specific new homeland to learn about exactly what the paperwork process will look like and how early to begin working on it.

Lock Down a Place to Live

Obviously you can’t just get off the plane without having a clue where you will stay. While you do not necessarily need to have a permanent residency lined up when you arrive, it is smart to have a hostel, hotel, AirBnB or something else along those lines booked for at least a few weeks. That way you will have a secure place to stay while looking for more permanent residency. Plus, especially in a hostel with group room settings, you can make some of your first friends abroad!

Save Up Before the Trip

Most likely you will not show up to your new destination with a job all set up unless you’re moving specifically for work. This means that you will probably have some time in the new country that you will not be working or making money, but you will definitely be spending it. It is extremely important to be frugal with your money before moving and to save it up so that you have enough to spend on living, eating, and getting comfortable with your new home before finding a source of income abroad. But this does not mean you should neglect looking for work altogether before moving. While you do not need to have a job set up, it would be a very smart idea to look up what options there are and have some kind of a plan for what you would like to do.

Open Yourself Up to New Friends

In a completely new country there will be a great deal of culture shock and it will be even harder to handle the changes without people physically there to lean on. Get out and make new friends! Join an organization or club, meet people in the community, honestly even utilize tinder (if your destination uses it) to find a buddy! While it is definitely important to remain close with people from back home, you have to make a fresh friend base in your new home. Not only will it give you more to do, but it will be immensely helpful for your own well-being while acclimating to a new country, especially if the culture and language is wildly different from here.

Each different destination across the globe is wildly different from the others, and their paperwork, culture, and residency processes are vastly different from each other, but across the board the most important thing is to be organized and prepared. You cannot just decide to relocate on a whim and expect it to go smoothly. With enough time and careful preparation, though, you can arrive to your new home stress free and ready to take on your new life abroad.

Junior at Florida State University majoring in Editing, Writing, and Media, aspiring social activism journalist, world traveler, and lover of flannel, Hungry Howie's, and cats.
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