There are a lot of travelers that end up falling in love with a country they visit. Many of them decide that they would like to live there. Living abroad is a very enriching experience that is intense and rewarding in many ways. Learning a new language and culture is a great way to expand your horizons and grow as a person. The problem is that traveling to Spain is much different than living in Spain.
Becoming an ex-pat is not easy and involves a lot of trials and tribulations to finally settle in so you can live your life. Once you jump through all the hoops then your life can be very interesting and enriching, but it does also take some effort on your part to make it that way. In this article, we will cover a lot of the things you need to consider when you are looking to move abroad.
1 – You’ll need insurance
Many countries offer their citizens and residents government-provided health insurance. This is to make sure that the population has healthcare that is affordable and effective to keep everybody healthy. American expats are not allowed to get into the public insurance system, however. Since the insurance is paid for with taxes that means that non-residents are not eligible since they are not paying taxes there.
Some expats are able to eventually get into the public system when they become tax residents in that country, but it takes time. Many never do because they are still paying taxes to their home country and not locally.
It is also very important to have health insurance to get a visa. In many cases, it is a requirement so that you won’t be a burden on the public system that you haven’t paid into. If you have an emergency or an accident then you will be covered by your own insurance. Then when you are eligible to join the public healthcare system you can cancel your private one.
2 – Finding work
To get a visa you will need a job. To get a job, you will need a visa. It’s a classic catch-22 that befuddles a lot of potential expats. The best way to get around this issue is to try to get an international assignment from a company that has offices abroad. Then you can transfer and the company will take care of arranging a visa for you and your family to live in the new country.
Otherwise, you will need to do a lot of research into the companies that usually hire people from abroad and are happy to sponsor a visa for them to come and work. This can take some time since it is usually difficult to look for work when not living in the country. Luckily, it isn’t as much of an issue now since most interviews are not done in person and instead are done over the internet.
3 – Shipping vs buying new
Many people are confronted with the issue of what to do with all of their belongings when they are preparing for a move abroad. The options are to ship everything to the new location which is costly and chaotic. Or, to sell everything and then buy things new on arrival which is also costly but far easier to manage.
There are pros and cons to each approach. For instance, if you opt to ship then when you arrive you know that you will have everything that you need. Buying furniture at your new location can be quite a process so having it simply arrive by a moving company is very nice.
On the other hand, it can take a long time for your container filled with your belongings to arrive and there are almost always delays with shipping. Getting through customs is also usually an issue that can take quite a while. This means that you can be without your furniture and other goods for a long time after moving. Timing things can be difficult.
4 – Integrating
When you are new to a country and don’t speak the language one of the biggest issues you will face is integrating and making friends. Without integrating you can end up feeling isolated and frustrated with your experience abroad. Many end up associating exclusively with other expats and essentially live in a bubble.
Many countries offer free or discounted language and integration courses which you should take. It will take time to learn, but if you do then you will be better able to adjust to life in the new country. If you never learn the language then you will forever be an outsider.
Look into ways to meet new people and become friends. A good way to do this is to take up a hobby. These meetings will involve locals and help you integrate.