Have you been thinking about quitting your job and living overseas? Or, are you thinking about moving abroad to another country with your job? Both options sound very exciting but can also easily become overwhelming. That’s why doing your research to ensure you are prepared is key.
Below are three things I wish I knew before becoming an expat:1. Consider dietary preferences
Do you have seafood allergies? Are you vegetarian? Keto? Vegan? While all great lifestyles, it may be challenging to maintain once you leave your home country and become an expatriate. As such, I recommend that you do research to find out what food options are most popular in your desired country. Is it a heavy meat-eating country? If so, the price of living there as a vegan might be too expensive or nearly impossible for you.
A great resource to visit is the local embassy website for your desired country. Most countries also have embassy offices within the United States and Canada. I recommend going to visit and asking all the questions you have so that you can make a well-informed decision. You can also join expat groups, expat communities, and read up on expat blogs.
Pro tip: The cost of shipping will also increase should you want items from your home country. It might also be difficult to find the spices you’re used to cooking with. Don’t worry, we’ve got you! We deliver your favorite American snacks and spices worldwide at a low shipping price!
2. Consider exchange rates
Are you an American looking to move to Europe for example? If so, be prepared to spend a little more to maintain a similar lifestyle. For example, 1 EURO equates to 1.11 USD. So while you may spend a little more to live, you will gain other benefits such as universal healthcare, more organic food options, diverse transportation options, and more vacation/holiday time.
Pro tip: As an expat, I recommend that you go to a country where you can spend less to live. Otherwise, it will be very expensive to send money back to America for taxes and any residual bills. You can easily find options by googling “cheapest place to live overseas”, but if that’s something you can’t do, just make sure you are making enough (and also saved enough) to maintain your lifestyle.
3. Research country laws
Expat life is going to be a lot different than what you are used to as a citizen of your home country. From how you dress, to when and how you eat, life will be different -- but that’s the point of being an expat right? The goal is to explore a different culture on a long-term status. The country you ultimately decide on should be comfortable enough for your level of risk.
To get a detailed experience, I recommend reaching out to current expats to ask about the expat lifestyle, their expat experience in particular, and more. A lot of expats also highlight their experiences or assignments with expat documentaries so don’t be afraid to peruse YouTube.
Pro tip: A great resource to start is on Embassy websites and other government-official country websites. Find expat groups in the area and start making relationships. Moving away can get a bit lonely, and your new local friends would love to show you around!
No matter where you go and what you decide to do, be sure to go jump in fully with a changed mindset. Leave your inhibitions at home. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, collect as many resources as you can and prepare financially/mentally/emotionally for a changed lifestyle.
What are some of your tips for becoming an expat? Comment below!