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You are here: Home Housing Where to Live Tips for country movers
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21/03/2011Tips for country movers

Tips for country movers If you are planning to relocate, whatever your age or family situation, these tips can help you achieve a smooth transition.

Your move may be supported by your company or be self-initiated. You may be travelling alone or with a partner, and children may also be in the equation.  Whatever your circumstances, do a reality check and make sure you know what relocating entails.   Knowing what to look out for can help you make a happier and more successful transition all round.


Don't become a hermit or a bar-fly. Get out and about and network. Use the internet; join online communities such as the Expatica Community and local meet-up groups that focus on the international community, socialise with people from the office, meet your neighbours, carry on with your favourite sport, hobby or interest.  By being proactive you're more likely to meet some like-minded people, even if they don’t speak the same language.

Single parents

Evaluate rigorously the amount of help you'll get with the relocation – if any – and then plan from there. Keep your children involved in plans for the move from the start.

Research the school systems, social life, and culture of the place you are going to and ensure that not only you but your children have some idea of what to expect. If your company can't help you, use the internet. Make sure you have some idea of child support in the new location.

Don't forget about the other parent. Make sure some regular form of communication is set up via free VOIP services such as Skype and work out how often the children will be able to visit other friends and relatives.

Make sure your housing suits your needs. Have a good plan and contacts available to help in any emergency situations and try to stick to familiar routines as much as possible to reassure your children, at least until they settle in.


Whether you are married or living together, if your partner is relocating with you, then his or her career needs to be taken into consideration, especially if they are giving up a job to travel with you.

For an accompanying spouse, especially when they cannot easily obtain a work-permit in the new location, feeling lonely and isolated in the new location is commonplace.

If working is out of the question, then the spouse could consider further education during the assignment, which will improve self-esteem as well as sharpen skills. Consider online courses or studying locally.

Mature expats

Companies are increasingly sending expats in the 50+ bracket abroad.  Mature expats are more likely to take the difficulties of expatriation in their stride as well having the technical skills and proven success in their areas of expertise. However, this group also needs to do a reality check and ask for specific needs to be addressed.

For instance, make sure the company is aware you might need regular trips back home to visit aging parents and grandchildren. If you are self-employed, include these travel expenses in your financial plan. .

Regarding health issues: make sure you have access to the medical care you might need at the new location.

Younger expats

Companies know that the younger generation are often so eager to go abroad they can neglect negotiating a relocation package that covers their basic needs.

For example, if your company doesn't have any special policies for young expats, make sure you can cover the main relocation expenses such as a deposit for an apartment. This will entail requesting at least a month's salary extra, along with any other necessary outlays you anticipate.

Experienced' expats

If you are a seasoned traveller, you may believe you won't have any problems moving to another country because you have done it before.

Beware; just because you have managed a move successfully to one country doesn't necessarily make the next move a walkover. You still need to find out about the new country and culture just like anyone else. Find out how people operate socially and in the business world, their values, language, dress codes, where to live, the kind of weather to expect. Be prepared to go back to square one every time.


Administrative issues

Especially if you relocated without the support of a company, make sure you seek expert advice on the basics such as social security, pension, tax and insurance, including health insurance, before leaving your homecountry country so you can have some idea of what adminstration you need to bring over with you and simply to keep one step ahead in your planning.

Make sure that any outstanding tax and social security liabilities you might have in your current location are settled before you relocate.

A last tip for the road

Be aware of what some expats describe as 'the four-year wobble', a state which is often directly related to your progress in learning the local language.

The first year can fly by as you get into the new job, discover the city you are living in, start language classes and generally play the role of the new arrival. But around the fourth year or earlier for some, the glamour starts wearing off as you face the reality; that you haven't quite achieved what you had hoped to have achieved by this time.

For instance, you may have made little headway with the local language, or not made as many friends as you would have hoped.

Don't be discouraged. This is the time to give things a little push; focus on your language learning again--start a course or search out locals who are willing to chat with you in the local lingo-- and search out new ways of improving your social network.

Remember why you wanted to move in the first place and draw from that reason or ambition to get you through.


Useful websites

- the European Job Mobility Portal

The Global Networker: a website to help international partners to find and gain employment overseas. a self-financing association that aims to facilitate the geographic mobility of members' employees by helping find jobs for those employees' spouses and partners at their new location. 

Global Connection: a large global community of expat partners with over 6.000 members in more than 125 countries. a source of information on educational opportunities for students to study in other countries. 

European directory of study: Online European directory of study. a listing of universities across the world 

Expatica / Natasha Gunn


Further reading:  Evolving HR policies for young international professionals

Child and elder care mobility considerations

The family left behind

Coping with teenage repatriation trauma



2 reactions to this article

siggae posted: 2009-02-22 00:05:10

Great info - but what about if you become a sinle parent out here? I have found no support groups or indeed solid information on what help I can get.

Editor NL posted: 2009-09-16 11:49:08

Check out this article:
Start a thread on Expatica Forums asking if anyone knows or organisations for single parents, check out our Groups and Clubs category in the A-Z lisitngs.

2 reactions to this article

siggae posted: 2009-02-22 00:05:10

Great info - but what about if you become a sinle parent out here? I have found no support groups or indeed solid information on what help I can get.

Editor NL posted: 2009-09-16 11:49:08

Check out this article:
Start a thread on Expatica Forums asking if anyone knows or organisations for single parents, check out our Groups and Clubs category in the A-Z lisitngs.

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