Want to live abroad but you’re not quite sure how to tackle it? You’ve had a fabulous Erasmus year and want to move overseas again sometime? Getting bored with things at home and the thought of going abroad seems attractive? Don’t just wait for the occasion. Make it your goal and find a way to get there.
Living abroad will definitely be character building and open a new world with different points of view. You’ll strengthen your personal skills such as flexibility, courage and tolerance. At times it will push your limits and you’ll be out of your comfort zone. But in the end it’s all more than worth it! Here are 7 ways how to move abroad:
There are many options: do a semester as an Erasmus exchange student, a post-graduate degree or even just a 3 months’ language class in a different country. It will be character building and give you great insight into what it’s like to live abroad.
My first experience of moving abroad was 1 year of Erasmus exchange studies in France, which totally changed my view on life in many aspects: I wanted to live abroad in many other countries to come!
As a student it’s very easy to make friends, you’ll meet peers who are just as new to town as you are and most likely there will be other non-native exchange students. You’ll quickly connect with people being in the same boat.
Read more on studying abroad here for helpful tips and practical advice how to tackle it.
Work in a different country
Finding work abroad will ensure stability with benefits like social security and health insurance. Why not look for an internship or get a transfer to an overseas office?
You may benefit from relocation packages or expat salaries. In most cases your new colleagues will be happy to help and lend practical advice on where to live and what paperwork needs to be presented and how to jump bureaucratic hurdles.
Applying for an overseas job from your home country is usually way more difficult. You may need the courage to just go and find a job in-country. Once there, it’ll be way easier to find out which job searching tools and platforms are used locally and you’ll get a better feel for the job market.
Be aware of the different work approaches and mentalities when choosing your destination. Read more about it here.
Work & Travel on a gap year
Under 30? Why not embrace travel and turn your hobby into an income and pick up casual work when needed? Visa issues will never get that easy again!
As an avid horse rider, I worked as a riding instructor and a tour guide on horseback in Australia and Ireland. Others prefer bar keeping, trading labour at a hostel or working as a language teacher or skiing instructor. Your call.
The most fun jobs I’ve done? Mustering cattle on horseback in the Australian bush. I also liked taking out groups on beach rides in Western Australia. You can read here what my Work & Travel experience in Australia was like.
Crew a yacht or work on a cruise ship
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly a way to see different parts of the world. I have met people who work on cruise ships on a 6 months’ basis and then quite literally change the destination country.
This might be the best way to really get to know the local way of life. It makes your stay an authentic experience and you have the chance to connect with the locals. HelpX, Workaway or woofing are some examples.
When not speaking the language yet and depending on the cultural differences, expat life can make you feel you’re just scratching the surface. It’s very unlikely for this to happen when volunteering and staying with the locals.
Definitely great at a younger age or when you prefer to explore a new country in a safe family environment. The family will help you find your bearings and smoothen out initial get-to-know hiccups which otherwise can take some time to figure out, like: Where do I register residency? Where do I get my tax ID number / tax file number? Which bank do I choose?
I personally think it’s brave to decide staying for a year with a family that you haven’t even met yet.
Sure this sounds like the perfect way of travelling and living abroad. Although in most sectors clients would want to meet up every now and then in person.
However, I have met people who have worked for insurance companies for years, who allowed them to work remotely. I guess phone numbers can easily be diverted to online solutions.
Have a plan
Figure out what you want to get out of your stay abroad and choose your destination based on your goals, financial means and, if you’re making that move with a partner or family, the opportunities for them.
Test it out on a short-term basis
When you’re unsure about leaving everything behind just yet, there is always the option of trying it out first on a short-time basis. Check the place out on a holiday trip.
You could do a language intensive class for a few months? Or have you thought of house sitting or a house swap?