When you are thinking about moving abroad for work, there are some things you should be aware of before actually going through with this life changing move.
From the struggles you face when moving to another country, to actually finding a job, here’s our list of the most important 10 things you need to know when moving abroad for work, besides the obvious “it’s expensive to move.”
Before we get into the deep and dirty, there are some things you need to know about us.
We are Maya and Andy, a couple of young geeky, quirky, young millennial gamers with a big dream. Freedom. And our freedom consists of financial independence and time.
In our journey for reaching our big dream, we’ve been through A LOT of shit.
From working for ourselves since we were teenagers, to owning a bar with a built-in tattoo shop when we were 21 and 23, to failing that and getting soul-sucking jobs and side hustles, we did it all.
The dream is too big to let it go.
Because back home having financial freedom is just a thought in most people’s minds (and if you’re in your 20’s is just impossible if you aren’t born into a rich and influential family), we knew we had to do something.
We only had one thought: “You can’t keep living like this. You are not a slave, you are not an obedient little sheep.”
So we moved 3000 km (almost 2000 miles) away from home in order to reach our dream, our freedom, and because today marks our ONE YEAR away from home, we wanted to share the most important things we’ve learned with you if you ever think of moving abroad.
The funny thing about moving abroad, especially for the ones like us, with a bad financial situation back home, is that we fall into the “holy shit I’ll make SO much money there!” pit, without thinking about all the other important parts of living in another country.
Being a tourist and moving to another country are two totally different things and it’s very important for you to know and understand what implications are there in a life-changing move like this one.
But enough with the chit-chatting, let’s get to it!
10 things you need to know about moving abroad for work
1. The laws
When moving to another country, it’s important to learn the basic laws of that certain area of the world, to stay out of trouble you know?
We’re not saying you must learn everything, that would be crazy, just some basics. From street regulations to laws about noisy neighbors, you must know how things go, if you’re ever in need.
2. National Insurance Number
Did you know that when you decide to move to another country, not just be a tourist there, you need to fill in some papers, have a strange “identification interview” and get your hands on a National Insurance Number?
And now you’re probably asking, “but what the hell is that and why do I need one?”
The NI number is your own personal account number. It is unique to you and you keep the same one all your life.
You need one because it makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name.
3. The job(s)
When you decide to move to another country, you need to make sure you can find a job ASAP (if you haven’t already and that’s why you’re moving). You need to make sure you have a means of making money (legally, of course).
Also, if you’re not the only one going, and you’re going as a couple, as we did, you should keep in mind 2 things:
b) the other person might not even find steady work, so you’ll both need to find other nonconformist ways of making money.
4. The language(s)
As any normal person would do, it’s essential to learn at least the basics of the language (or languages) spoken in the country you wish to move to.
Don’t be scared if you don’t know it perfectly, or if the country you’re moving to has a different accent than the one you’re used to.
You’ll eventually get accustomed to the little details. One day at a time.
Like everywhere in the world, living in a big city will cost you more than living in the area around one.
When you look for rent, there are some things you need to keep in mind, so you can have a little bit of comfort while you’re adapting and trying to build the lifestyle you want and deserve.
Remember that the rent will be your biggest monthly expense when moving abroad for work.
For example, you should be careful about where the place is situated, how far is it from your job, if you have shops and public transportation nearby if you have a parking spot available, how is the place heated (wood, gas or electric – this affects your living expenses A LOT).
Also, consider sharing rent with a friend or relative to cut down on that expense.
6. Other living expenses
Speaking of living expenses, when moving abroad for work you don’t want to be put in the fucked up situation of not being able to live or affording something because you must pay your bills and other stuff.
In order to save money, you must be smart about how you live. Like we’ve said in the previous point, be careful when you look for your new rented place, especially with the heating.
If it’s electric, we’re sorry to say that you are basically screwed and will probably need a side hustle just to get through winter.
Keep your bills organized, always pay for heating and water and learn how to be frugal. Less eating out or ordering pizza at home, more DIY cooking. You don’t need a gym membership, there are tons of free tutorials on youtube you can follow to keep in shape while working out at home.
Instead of paying for cabs, use public transportation, or just walk. If your job is too far away, or you’re offering some sort of services, save for a car and see if your employer is willing to pay for gas (most of them do – because it’s deductible expense).
Speaking of employers, another important aspect when you’re moving abroad for work is knowing where your job is and how far it is from what you’ll call from now on “home”.
The hardest thing will be to find a job and rent that are both okay, and close, so you don’t spend a big part of that hard earned money on commuting. You need to search a lot and have a bit of luck, that’s for sure, but nothing is impossible.
If you’re unfortunate enough that your job is too far away, you can find other means of transportation to/from work or share the trip with some colleagues that live near you and split the cost of gas.
8. Medical Insurance
The thing with the medical is simple. After you’re hired, you automatically have a state insurance that you or your employer pays for, so there’s no need in opting for a private insurance unless you want to.
Having a private insurance offers you some benefits in case you are ever in need of medical assistance, like assisting with costs towards treatments that would otherwise not be covered.
Earlier on this list, we talked about learning to be frugal. This is very important, especially when it comes to shopping.
Did you know that you can get the same quality for almost 1/4 of the price of a product just by buying the store’s brand and not the fancy one you see in commercials? Keep that in mind next time you shop for groceries.
Also, keeping your house clean can be cheap as well, if you learn how to DIY cleaning products like we did. Thank us later!
For other shopping, like clothing, I, being Maya, am a HUGE fan of thrift shops. Some of them offer a great deal for clothing in perfect condition.
Why pay more on a clothing item just for the brand name, and also encourage the fast fashion madness, when you can create your own awesome unique style by thrifting?
There is no shame in buying second-hand items and also if you’re a crafty person, you can easily get your DIY on and transform them into something more “You”.
10. The people
The last, but not least, an important point on our list is, of course, the people. You need to know some basic things about the people that live in the country you’re moving to. You don’t wish to offend anyone or make a fool of yourself, right?
With or without stereotypes, the fun fact is that you’ll get to meet a ton of awesome people wherever you go, and also a few bad apples here and there. Just be sure to surround yourself as much as possible only with the kind of people that can help you grow and evolve.
To keep your sanity, you know.
And that’s it! We hope you enjoyed and learned something from our list of 10 things you need to keep in mind when moving abroad for work.
Our question for you is: What other things have you learned after moving abroad for work?