Moving abroad can be one of the most exciting prospects you’ll ever consider; however, the first step is always the hardest. Where do you go? With so many countries and so many incredible opportunities, the decision can feel impossible. Let’s break down the process together, to provide you with a foolproof guide on how to choose your expat destination. And remember, research, research, research.
1. Consider your Personal Situation
Meaning, are you looking to work/study/travel/retire abroad. Establishing your reason for moving abroad can make the process of finding a destination much easier, as there are many countries suited for each pathway.
For example, if you’re looking to retire abroad you may prefer to steer clear of countries with highly populated cities and instead look for more laidback or remote locations. Similarly, if you’re looking to study abroad, moving to a remote location may not provide you with the same opportunities as a forgien city. Many countries have excellent university courses in cities that are ideal for finding work experience.
Understanding your purpose for moving abroad can help you determine which countries are more appropriate for your move and which are less appropriate.
2. Consider your Personal Wants
Once you’ve established what you need for your move, whether that be a university course, job opportunity etc., you can begin to consider your personal wants for the destination. This is the time to consider climate, hobbies and tastes.
Hate spicy food? Perhaps Mexico isn't for you. Love skiing? Perhaps Switzerland is more your speed. Prefer warm sunshine all year round? We recommend steering clear of Denmark. And so on. It’s important for your well-being as an expat that you’re in a country and community that you love. Whether you love mountains or beaches, hiking or surfing, there will be a country that can cater to your interests.
By taking the time to consider your personal likes and dislikes, you can eliminate further countries from your initial list, bringing you closer to a final decision.
3. Consider your Boundaries
Naturally, you will now need to establish how much of a challenge you’re setting yourself with your move. Do you want to completely immerse yourself in a new culture you’ve never experienced, or would you still like to keep some sense of familiarity?
If you’re from the west, moving to a remote middle eastern country may provide a stronger culture shock than if you were to move to a European country. Alternatively, if you’re from a particularly remote location, relocating to a bustling city may be overwhelming.
To help you make this decision, it may be beneficial for you to understand your boundaries when it comes to living abroad. If the thought of adapting to a new culture excites you, you may want to push yourself beyond your own culture. However, if this idea seems too intimidating, sticking to countries with similar cultural norms may allow you to have an easier transition.
4. Consider your Budget
By now, you may have a few solid ideas of where you would like to move. It’s time to figure out whether you can afford it. Living prices can vary all across the world -- the most expensive places generally being in northern Europe.
There are many ways to move abroad on a budget, but it’s best to consider a country where you’re going to be able to live comfortably. This again relates back to your personal wants. Are you open to living a cheaper lifestyle or are you looking for more luxurious living? Will you be spending much money socialising? Any expensive hobbies?
By researching what your average living costs may be in your chosen countries, you can make further decisions on your final destination.
5. Consider your Visa
Now, you need to ensure that you are actually allowed to move to your chosen countries. It can be harder to obtain a visa in some countries than others, for example, it’s notoriously hard to get a visa for relocating to Australia due to the volume of applicants. In more desirable locations it may be more difficult to be approved for a visa.
You’ll need to research what visa you need, whether it be a work visa, student visa, travel visa etc. Then, it’s important to understand what documentation you’ll need for your application -- this can vary depending on the type of visa you’re applying for.
Depending on the different requirements of each country, this process may narrow down your choices further.
By following these steps, you should now have a list of destinations that are suited to your personal relocation journey. Complete any further research as you see fit, you may even find it useful to repeat these steps with your shortlisted locations.
7. Make your Decision!
The final step, make your decision! While this may seem like a daunting decision, once you’ve decided the excitement can truly begin.
If you’re struggling with any part of the relocation process, Avvinue is here to help. Sign up for our services today to be matched with a personal moving assistant.