6 Tips for Moving Abroad

Moving to somewhere new, be it down the street or across an ocean is always exciting. There are constantly new and exciting things around every corner; people, places, ways of life.

With the world ever expanding, and transportation easily accessible to many of us, it comes as no surprise that there is a rise in people moving abroad. So I did it myself straight after university. Sporting my now out of fashion harem pants and a one way ticket, I dragged myself and two big suitcases half-way across the world to Japan.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement when you’re planning the big move. So easy in fact, that it’s dangerously simple to forget about the practicalities. I get it, it’s stressful, especially with each one being seemingly more important and twice as expensive than the last.

With that being said, here are a few things to think about when choosing, and preparing to move country.

LANGUAGE

This may not seem like a huge deal, especially if the country has a high number of people who speak your native language. Many people are happy enough to live in a country for years with only the bare minimum vocabulary to get through daily life. However, being able to speak the native language of the country you intend to life will save you a lot of hassle. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t even bother moving if you can’t speak said language, or that you need to become fluent; Learn the essentials, learn important medical and financial words that you may need to use. Many people rely on others they already know living in that country, but they won’t be around all the time and at some point you are going to be stuck in a situation where the only person you can rely on is yourself. Be ready, and be prepared. Plus, learning languages is fun! Take classes – this is also a great way to meet friends and get involved in your local area. Learning can be fun guys!

CLIMATE

I knew Japan would be hot, but I had no idea just how hot is hot. I have been here for a total of four years now, and I can honestly say, without hesitation, that Japanese summers are the worst. With ninety percent humidity and highs of mid thirty decrease, there is no escaping the oppressive heat that has you sweating like a sumo in the desert. Climate should not be a deal breaker, but something to bare in mind. If the country you want to visit has a disagreeable climate, is there another similar country which is better suited for you? Google is your friend here, use it!

RENTING A HOUSE

Every country has their own way of doing things, and you need to be well versed before you show up. Here in Japan you are expected to pay key money, aka, a thank you to the landlord for letting you stay at their property. This is usually three months rent, which means more saving before you come. I had a bit of a nasty shock when I found this out, but lucky the company made a deal and allowed me to pay back slowly. Cultural differences extend to every part of life, and often times appear in the most unexpected of places. Do your best to be prepared.

THE FOOD

Okay, this one sounds silly, but what we eat can affect us in more ways than we realise. Are you allergic to anything in the country’s staple foods? Can you remain healthy on a different diet? If you have food restrictions, it’s always best to learn key words to look for in ingredients and do your research. Learn how to ask ‘Does this have_______ in it?’ in the native language . This question in particular has saved my vegetarian soul a million times. Another key tip is to make sure they actually understand what you mean by ‘meat’ or ‘no dairy’ etc. Here in Japan, bacon isn’t considered meat, and even after asking for no meat I often end up with bacon filled pasta. It’s always best to learn how to double check, for your own health and peace of mind.

WHAT KIND OF JOBS ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU

What kind of jobs are available to you is kind of a big deal. Maybe you’re moving within your own company, or maybe you’re doing it alone. Do extensive research not only on what jobs you are eligible for, but also work culture. Job culture will vary from country to country and field to field; It’s kind of a tough one to prepare for. However, if you read up as much as you can before entering your new environment, you will save yourself a lot of embarrassment and hopefully the blow will be softened by knowledge.

HOW EASILY YOU CAN TRAVEL HOME

As much as I love living in Japan, it’s far from home. Since making the move, I’ve missed many important events such as weddings and sadly, funerals. It’s hard being away from home when people need you, and even more so when you need them.The further you are from home, the more money it will cost you to travel back and forth. Distance is by no means a deal breaker, but it’s something that bares a great deal of consideration.

As you can see with all of these pointers, the key to a smooth move is research and preparation. Moving abroad is a fantastic adventure, a dream come true! But it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you are unprepared and oblivious to the situation you are making for yourself. Give yourself the best chances, you deserve them.

Photography: Naomi Post Processing: Rae

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Naomi

Hey, lovelies! I’m Naomi, an aspiring novelist and blogger currently trying to adult in Japan as an English Teacher. Originally from the beautifully rainy country of Wales, where I grew up speaking in Welsh and falling in love with nature, folklore and the art of storytelling. I spend most of my time writing and working on my blog, where I talk about mental health, feminism and lifestyle. An avid tea drinker, I spend a lot of my time hunting for Vegetarian-friendly cafes and good tea; nothing is worse than a disappointing cup of tea. I have been reading Love From Berlin for a long time now, and I am so overwhelmingly honoured to be a part of the wonderful community that Rae has created in this small corner of the internet.

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  • Such an interesting read. When you move abroad there’s so many things you have to think about that you normally wouldn’t at home. Learnt so much about Japanese culture just by reading this, thanks for sharing your tips Naomi :)

    • I’m so happy you liked this article Julieta!! I hope that this helps if you ever want to move abroad.

  • My family and I moved abroad when I was 10, and I ended up living abroad for 8 years before going back to the States for college, but my family is still living abroad. I’m lucky that my parents took all the responsibility for me and my brothers, so it was easy for us to adjust. I imagine that moving abroad as an adult with adult responsibilities is a lot scarier, but probably worth the experience :) -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • Such a great read, Naomi. And so much helpful truth in here. x

    Hannah | Stories Of A Telescope

  • Good tips! Some of them that wouldn’t have crossed my mind even though I have moved to another country. The things you forget when you’ve lived somewhere for long enough, the struggles in the beginning! I found really interesting the “pay key money” when renting a flat in Japan. Something that would never cross my mind and I would probably find it a bit unfair if that happened to me, but then again it is a cultural thing.
    I also live away from my family, but thankfully we all still live in Europe, which makes it a bit easier to see eachother for the important occasions. I can’t even imagine living further away!

    Lii
    https://byliil.wordpress.com/

  • Such an interesting post! I had no idea about the extra payment for an apartment in Japan! It’s a good thing to learn =o) Thanks for sharing!

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

  • I just moved to Toronto from Sydney about 2 weeks ago and I agree with all of this. I’m definitely not a winter person and the winters here are meant to be brutal, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if I can handle it. But I’ve been looking for work and although it hasn’t been long there are definitely some differences in the job market and for most people it’s probably going to be harder to get a job in a new country than it would be if I were job hunting back in Sydney.

    littlehenrylee.net