laraswanderings · Travel

Moving Internationally

We have just moved back to the USA and I can tell you that there are very few things that are harder to do on a shoe string budget. Here is a few tips I have from doing this twice:

1) Give yourself lots of time to get ready for moving, for actually moving, and for settling in. The less money you have the more time you need. The cheapest movers put your belongings on a ship and sail it over. This often takes a couple of months.

2) Try to get rid of as much stuff as possible. Most of your belongings are not worth the money to ship Internationally. I would recommend shipping only things that are irreplaceable for either sentimental reasons, high quality goods, or hard to find goods. If it is mass produced furniture, clothes that don’t  fit, cheap decorative objects, or anything you can buy cheaply get rid of it and buy used or new things in your new country.

3) Plan on finding friends, relatives, or a cheap lodging you can stay in for a few months so you can find a good home or job. Ideally you would be able to have one member of your family fly to that country to set up a home and job before hand, but a student situation and a cheap budget often doesn’t allow this luxury. Going through the correct processes for home and job differs greatly from one country to another so it would be good to have contacts to help you navigate this rather than learning the hard way (as we did).

3) Find a community as quickly as possible. Friends make everything better. They teach you all the things about your country that books and the business take for granted that you know. Making fast friends can be done be finding a good church home, a school club, a hobby group, or even just meeting your neighbors.

4) Stay in contact with all your family and friends from your old country. It is hard to straddle to contents emotionally, but social media makes it much easier. This helps you not feel quite as home sick. You and your friendships will change and develop, but it is nice when it is slower and more natural.

5) Be yourself. You are a product of your old country, but you don’t have to preserve all of your old customs. I have seen those who create a bubble of their old culture within the new and won’t try anything new. I have also seen those who were in such a hurry to belong that they tried to become just like the people of their new country so much that they lost all of who they were and never felt like they belonged enough. It seems to me that the happiest place to be in somewhere in the middle. Keep all that was best of the customs of your old country and try to learn what you feel is best of your new country. Not many people move to other countries to live and as soon as you do you have become an outsider and different. This is not necessarily a bad thing. People like those who are different and interesting because they can bring newness to conversations and gatherings. You may not get the comfort of life-long friendships and home town familiarity, but you will have good friends from all over the world, especially other travelers like yourself. There is so many benefits to being an eclectic world traveler. Embrace it rather than fear it.

6) Research, research, research. Any question from strange food to new sights you should learn as much as you can before, during, and after your move about your new country. It will enrich your experience in your new country and community. It will help you feel oriented and give you new things to try and do.



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