|Moving internationally is a long and involved process, and you're not done once you're moved into your home in your new country. There are plenty of things to do after a move, but there are even more things to do after an international move. It can be be daunting, but if you planned your actions before your move, the tasks facing you after your move can be done without too much trouble.
Follow a researched plan for the legal/technical resposibilitiesWhat you do after your move should have been considered long before your move, especially when moving overseas. If you don't have a post-move plan set before your international move, you could find yourself paralyzed with fear and confusion in a foreign country. There are specific and unique rules and regulations in each country about currency, ownership, customs, and medical care that must be accounted for before the move. Here are some post move activities that should be directly informed by pre-move research:
- Pick up any items from customs that were detained. Knowing the regulations of the new country's customs offices will help you avoid loss or detention of items, making this post-move activity unnecessary. Pets will likely be quarantined until you pick them up, no matter what.
- Transfer medical records. Knowledge of the country's policies, doctors, and insurance are all necessary to do this effectively. You may want to set up a new personal physician and/or dentist in your new country, too.
- Getting a new bank/transferring your old account. You need to know if your old bank has branches in your country. If not, you need to understand how the banking system may differ in this new country before you can open a new account with a new bank.
- Exchange your money to match the local currency. This can normally done through local banks, but prior research will point you in the right direction and give you an idea of the exchange rate so you know what to expect from your old money. Beware of exchange scams.
- If you are applying for permanent residency or citizenship in your new country, you better have already chose the specific plan for doing so that makes the most sense for you. Most countries have a pretty extensive list of requirements for new citizens including tests, background checks, education analysis, financial considerations, and maintaining residency. Be sure to bring all of the required documents to the government buildings that you are going to have to visit to complete, start, or continue these citizenship processes.
- Register with the new post office/mail service. Once again the time and place to do this varies from country to country so consult your research on your destination. Even the presence of mail could be a variable.
- Contact and set up plans for the local utility services. Energy policies differ from country to country and part of the services may be included in the price of your new home, so make sure you understand what the process is for buying and using new utilities based on the laws of your new country.
- Find a job. You may have had a job set up before your move, so this could be easy. If not, you may need to do some research on the country's employment laws regarding foreigners. Be sure to also research which industries are the ones that are the most successful in that country. If you can't find a job, you better research unemployment options that the country offers as well. Be aware that if you are not a citizen and don't seem to be adding anything to your new country's economy, you could risk deportation.
Social To-Do listThere is more to do after an international move than squaring away your financial, legal, and functional concerns. The social aspect of an international move is important because you can find yourself isolated in a new country and in a state of culture shock. You're going to need to be proactive and try to assimilate to the new culture as quickly as possible after the move.
Learn the language
If English isn't the country's main language, (and I'm only assuming it's yours since you are reading this) then you may want to try and learn the local language. Written translations to English may be more present at the airports and government buildings that you'll see most when you arrive at the country, but they could be far less frequent in more secluded locations. You may be able to get by not knowing the most common language, but you will always be looked at as a bit of an outsider and will never flourish in your new country until you truly can speak with most natives without difficulty. You certainly will pick up some arts of the language on your own, but it may be worth it to take some classes in the language online or in person.
Make some friends
The added list of things to do during an international move is challenging because you still need to do the typical post-move things like inspecting your belongings, inspecting your new home, and unpacking. If you need to file a claim against the international movers, the other things on this list could be pushed back. This is one of many reasons why finding the right international mover is important.
- Don't isolate yourself and feel alone in your new country. Try to make some new friends. If you can find fellow expats from your old country in your new country, you've found some instant friends. Your shared experiences will be great common ground and you can learn about adjusting to the culture from each other.
- Make friends with the locals. Becoming a friend with a native in a new country will help you understand the culture immensely. You can simply ask your native friends any questions about the country or the culture that you don't understand.
- It is a good idea to look to your new neighbours as possible friends since you will be spending time in proximity. Be friendly and open to their culture and ideas. Don't be too shy or act like you want to keep to yourself. You're the outsider in this situation so if you seem uninterested in everyone else, you will remain the outsider.