5 February 2021
How often have we heard the famous words "best time of my life" when friends, family members, or other people refer to their days abroad? They make moving and living abroad sound so easy, but is it really true?
I do call the days I have lived in England, New Zealand, Ireland, the USA (New York and California), and Scotland the "best days of my life". Read on for the tips and tricks I have developed over time and how they might make your move abroad as easy as others make it sound.
Connect with other people before you move
I've always found it helpful to already know someone in the city or country I'm moving to. This helps me to get insights into living in the city and country, and is generally a great way to find out everything you need to know. Some information might even be local knowledge that you won't get from tourist websites.
Moreover, it is reassuring and welcoming when you arrive in a new place, and you already have someone you can meet. Social media groups, friends of friends, and work contacts can be a great resource for connecting with people living in the city you will be based in. Just remember to be careful when meeting strangers, and always follow safety guidelines.
Plan your first days in advance
Before you move to a new city or country, make a list of what you can do during the first days. The first days are the most exciting ones, but can also be highly stressful. It can quickly become overwhelming. So I always like to stay on top of things. I create a plan of things I must to (like registering with a GP, opening a bank account) and things I want to do (like visiting the university, walking to Edinburgh Castle) during my first days abroad.
Write down why you decided to move there
A few days before I actually move abroad, I always write down why I decided to move. I note down the motivations that led me to take this step, and what I want to achieve by moving there. Especially on tougher days (yes, not every day is awesome), I use them to remind myself why I moved, and it helps to bring back my focus.
However, don't base your motivation solely on the city or country, because the city might be very different from what you expected. This will probably leave you frustrated, and you might start questioning past decisions.
Don't spend all your money at the beginning
I know this sounds obvious, but believe me you will be very excited that you finally made it, and this can have a big influence on your purchasing behaviour! Of course, the first month is always the most expensive as you might need to buy some basic equipment. Therefore, it is even more important to critically evaluate whether you need to make certain purchases and how that will affect your budget. Still, it is ok to treat yourself even at the beginning!
Breathe and take time to enjoy the moment
I think this is something I still struggle with. The whole situation is very exciting, and you want to see and do everything at once. But remember, you are not a tourist: you live there! Take your time, breathe, and enjoy the moment. Personally, I always enjoy going to crowded landmarks to look at all the tourists running from one landmark to another. It helps me to realise that I do not need to see the city in just a few days.
I hope these tips and tricks will help you master your next move abroad, and that you will also call these days the "best time of your life" when you share your experience with others.
Lena Reuther is a student on the MSc Marketing and Business Analysis programme