If your plans for 2020 included the beginning of an overseas adventure, then no one could blame you for feeling a little frustrated
right now. All that excitement about a fresh start somewhere in the sun would be so hard to put on hold – particularly if you had concrete dates in mind. But, while the dream might be on the backburner while the COVID-19 pandemic storm rages, it doesn’t necessarily need to be abandoned altogether. Indeed, the current crisis may be a blessing in disguise, giving you more time to plan and prepare for
what, after all, is a huge leap. And, with that in mind, we thought we’d list five things expats have told us they wish they’d spent
more time on before committing to their own Big Move.
Learning The Local Language
Hopefully, you’ve already bought a phrase book or learned a little from previous visits but, as we’ve said in our blogs before, being able to converse with a little confidence makes a big difference. It indicates you’ve made an effort to integrate as best you can and earns a little respect from the locals. No one expects you to be fluent immediately; language, its accents and nuances take a while to pick
up. But, if you can manage the markets, the petrol station, the restaurant or the shops with a degree of proficiency, it helps with your own confidence too.
Try Different Food
One of the first things you’ll notice once you move overseas is that you’ll miss things from your kitchen cupboards that you used to take for granted. The kids’ favourite brand of cereal, some herbs and spices, decent pork sausages, Marmite, cheddar cheese … Everyone has their own examples. The care packages which arrive with visiting family and friends can help tide you over but, seeing as you have a little more time, why not do a little research with a recipe book and try cooking once a week with only the ingredients you’re likely to find in your new home. Educating your tummy and taste buds could be a good move, particularly if your family includes one or two fussy eaters.
You might think you already know your destination of choice, perhaps because you’ve stayed numerous times on holiday. However, there’s a significant difference between a sunshine break and full-time residency. There’s a good chance you’re already going to know a little about the heritage and customs of your chosen host nation but they can vary as much as the accent. You’re also not necessarily going to know all you need to about cell phone reception, internet accessibility or your likely utility bills. Even the winter weather can come as a shock if you’re not used to it so it’s a good idea to find out as much as you can in advance.
Make your lists
They’re maybe not for everyone but lists are a great way of staying on top of your preparations. Even in the current crisis, crossing something off can help the Big Move feel a little closer as well as allowing you to feel a little more in control. They don’t have to be “to do” lists either; even a list of reasons why you’re planning your adventure in the first place can help to keep you focused. Talk About Your Plans In the excitement of all the planning, it’s easy to forget everyone in the family may not be on the same page. If you just assume everyone’s up to speed, you could find there are some unpleasant surprises waiting down the line. It’s best to encourage everyone to talk about the coming change. Don’t forget to include extended family and friends too. We’re not suggesting you become a Big Move bore – just that everyone has an opportunity to express their own thoughts and fears. It’s better you know about them in advance rather than 24 hours before you’re due to board a flight.
If you’d like any more advice on buying or selling a home abroad, please feel free to drop us a line or give us a call, we’re be happy to help if we can. In the meantime, if you know anyone who might find this blog informative or helpful, please feel free to share.
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