How To Become An Expat In 5 Simple Steps

By Orla Corrigan, GA Writer

Making the move to becoming an expat doesn’t need to be a terrifying thought. Everyday people just like you leave their home lands in search of a better life in another country. Sometimes it’s for work commitments and often it’s for pure pleasure. Whatever the foundation of your decision may be, consider the following five steps as your starter guide to expatriate life.

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Choose your destination

You may already know exactly where you want to live. Some of us flock straight to sunny shores while others think basking in a country that embraces the four seasons collectively is a more viable choice. No matter what country you choose, make sure to do in depth research into the country. Research the climate, the wage scale, the lifestyle, any safety issues and try get speaking to people who are already residing there. The deciding factor may come down to worth ethic, language barriers and lifestyle in a particular country. Remember it’s your choice where you decide to become an expat but choose wisely.

Make contacts with other expats in your chosen country

Networking is key when moving abroad, this I am a firm believer in. Create a safety net of friends for when you arrive to your new destination. Join forums online and put yourself out there to meet people. Often I have sourced employment this way, from networking with the right people online.

Facebook has many forums for expats just like yourself. If you simply type “New in Vancouver,” for example, into the search box you can join a group of thousands of people who will be sharing the same experiences as you. It's incredibly refreshing to know that at the click of your fingers you can connect with so many like-minded people!

There are also many groups to join, one that I have loved being a part of for my year living in Dublin was "Girl Crew Dublin" (there is a similar one for the guys). These groups showcase job opportunities, nights out, people looking for housemates etc. 

Learn about the culture in your chosen country

Preparation is key and educating yourself on the culture will help ease you into your new surroundings. Be aware of what is acceptable and not in the particular country. In Thailand it is not acceptable to wear shoes within a Thai home or place of worship. It’s knowing little snippets of information like this that will help you adjust quickly and you can be somewhat prepared for the new life you are about to start living.

Embracing a new culture is highly exciting and a great new challenge for you. Who doesn’t love a challenge?

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Take everything into consideration

Be prepared for every little aspect of the move. Do you require a visa to work in this particular country? Do you take medication that is not widely available in the country you are moving to? Make a check list of all your priorities and tick them of once you have them sorted. You will feel super-efficient and organised!

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Adjusting to your new expat life

Remember that change is good, it excites and educates us on a daily basis. Making the move to living an expat life will open doors of opportunities and you get to sample a whole new life where possibilities are endless. While anything new takes some adjusting time to, embarking on your expat journey is a lot easier than you think.