Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are very adept at tuning out anything resembling news, you’re aware that the U.S. job market is highly competitive. Now on the downward slope of a peak in unemployment, landing a dream job is still pretty elusive. In part due to the tight job market, also in part due to the interest of expanding their horizons, working in foreign countries is gaining popularity among millennials. Even families with pets and school-age children are finding the experience to be one that they wouldn’t trade for anything, despite their initial trepidation. However, as exciting as foreign work and life sounds, it certainly doesn’t come stress-free. Here are 7 tips to help eliminate some of the top points of stress.
1. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Before signing any contracts, know what will and won’t be covered by your new employer. There was a time in our not-so-recent history when moving overseas for work was taken care of and paid for almost entirely by the company that hired you. Alas, this is no longer the case. The worldwide job market is also fairly competitive, so you may pay moving expenses in part, or completely. However, don’t put the brakes on overseas plans just yet. You might be pleasantly surprised how freeing it is to pick up and go. Do you have three kids and a dog? Think ahead to the cultural experience this will bring to your family as a whole, despite the cost. Looked at that way, you simply can’t refuse the opportunity, especially as these opportunities can exceed monetary value.
2. ELIMINATE AND STORE
Most of us, being young or old, are attached to a certain amount of accumulated possessions. If you’re moving overseas, eliminate as much as possible…and then eliminate some more. If you’re planning to return at some point in the future and wanting to keep some things, you need to find good storage for those items you simply can’t part with but are unable to take. If you don’t have friends or relatives with extra storage space, look into storage facilities. Make sure it’s an insured and climate-controlled unit to help ensure your belongings are cared for while you’re away.
3. HOME AWAY FROM HOME
If you’re going to live elsewhere for two or more years, you may be more comfortable with a few things from home. Family photos, sentimental pieces of furniture and dishes may be among the things you simply can’t eliminate or store. For those items, you need a moving company you can trust. Go a little further than just getting three quotes from movers. Ask for recommendation from future employers or contacts–have they moved or known others who have moved from such a distance and had good luck with their company? Interview and research the companies extensively enough that you feel very comfortable with your choice. Your movers should be uniformed and respectful to you and your possessions, especially as they may have a long distance to travel.
4. THE FAMILY PET
You may be able to eliminate the saggy sofa or the hideous vase Aunt Edna gave you as a wedding present, but it’s unlikely you can so happily leave your furry family member behind. Some moving companies are specifically designed to handle the process of moving four-legged family members from one country to another. Look into the retrictions of where you’ll be moving, asking how possible and practical it is for your pet to come along. Once cleared and in the works of bringing them, also do your part to make sure things go smoothly by updating the information on Fido’s collar and crate, including at least two phone numbers and veterinary shot records. You can check out more resources like bringfido.com for more detailed information regarding moving with pets.
5. PACK LIKE YOU’RE GOING ON VACATION
For last minute packing, consider the types of things you would take along on vacation. If you over pack, you’ll be fine. If you typically under pack…wait, who does that? Seriously, keep a set of travel clothing, pajamas, and a toothbrush in your carry-on. Quick dry travel clothes can be washed out in a sink, which is perfect when waiting on a washer/dryer to be hooked up or in the process of finding a nearby Laundromat. Likewise, bring the things you’ll most readily need (chargers, electronics, etc.) as well as smaller valuables with you, as you never know how long it might to access them once the move has started–especially if anything gets lost in the chaos.
More important than anything, asides the kids and the dog, is your money. Set up a checking account or equivalent type of account in your new city before you move. Not all banks have international connections so deposits and withdrawals could be difficult at best. If you already have money in a local bank, even a small amount, you’ll be much better off in the event of an unexpected expense in the first few days. Likewise, depending upon your new job, they might require an accessible account for the purpose of paying you—which is obviously important!
7. STUDY THE LOCAL CULTURE
The culture in each country operates by a different set of values, mannerisms and customs, both in the workplace and at leisure. For example, work related conversation in America tends to be to the point for the sake of efficiency. However, in Mexico, it is considered rude, or even condescending, to be so direct. The custom for meeting new people in many parts of the world includes a handshake but not so in India where a slight bow or nod accompanies prayer hands. Research or try to connect with somebody who can show you the ropes in your new home and help you avoid the “rude American” pitfalls.
Most of all, try to enjoy the experience. Not everybody get an opportunity to expand their knowledge of another country and culture, as well as build amazing resume material for returning home one day!
Leah Rise is a Florida native and proud Florida State Seminole fan and the truest of Disney Geeks. A passionate traveler, Leah has visited over 20 countries and currently is splitting her time between Florida and Sydney, Australia. Trying to put her Spanish and English degrees to good use, Leah enjoys blogging in her free time and taking her wolfdog, Simba, to the beach when she’s home. You can follow Leah @Leahrise on Twitter or on Google+ to keep up with her latest blogs.