11 Tips for Moving Abroad for Work

Updated June 3, 2022

Achieving your career goals or working in your chosen profession sometimes requires moving abroad. This can be a multi-step process that features many considerations. Having tips for success to reference can help you develop the confidence you need to transition to a new country. In this article, we list 11 tips that can help you prepare for your move and transition more effectively.

Related: 16 Tips for Working Abroad

11 tips for when you need to move abroad for work

When moving abroad for work, it's helpful to prepare before you begin the process. Consider the following steps to accomplish a successful move abroad:

1. Prepare your support network

If you have a family, they might move along with you. Perhaps you're moving abroad with a favorite colleague. Alternatively, you could move abroad by yourself. It helps to consider what support system you might have once you arrive at your destination. If they can't have a physical presence with you, modern technology makes staying connected with friends and loved ones simple.

Your support system can help you with your transition into your new country. Whether they can support you in person or online, preparing for how to connect with them can help you find the comfort of home when you need it.

2. Research the cost of living

By understanding the cost of living in your new area, you can prepare a budget for your new living situation. This can also help you determine in which area it makes the most sense for you to live. Having an accurate budget for your new lifestyle can help you find an apartment or home that fits your needs and lies within that budget. By figuring out the cost of living, you can also deduct necessary expenses from your salary to determine your actual take-home pay so you can understand how much you can save while abroad.

Related: Cost of Living: Definition and How To Calculate It

3. Evaluate your career goals

It's possible moving abroad can help you achieve your career goals. If you're unsure about this, consider researching ways to achieve these goals in your new home country. Local rules, regulations and culture might help you reach your goals more quickly abroad, provided you understand how to do so and prepare accordingly.

Related: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

4. Compare your pay abroad to your pay at home

The rate of pay in your new role abroad might differ from your rate at home. Sometimes, it's possible to earn more abroad than before moving. Understanding your new rate of pay can prepare you to pay your bills and other expenses and provide for your expected quality of life. Since some companies pay more in other countries, you may be able to pay your bills more effectively than at home, helping you reach financial goals more easily. This can improve both your budget and your quality of life while living abroad.

5. Consider the new skills you can learn

Working in a new country, you may need to learn a new language and a new culture. This can also help you learn other new skills, such as improved and effective communication. Networking might also require new cultural considerations you don't currently use. With this, it can be helpful to consider researching potential new skills you might need to develop. Some other skills you might learn include:

  • Problem-solving

  • Empathy

  • Teamwork

Considering your additional skills can also help improve your confidence in moving abroad. For instance, by moving into a new culture, it's likely that you'll develop competencies you're currently unaware you might need. Developing professionally in this way can help diversify your full skill set in the future. Bonus features like this can help you feel confident in accepting the challenge of moving abroad.

6. Remain adaptable

No matter how much research you do, you might still encounter the occasional unexpected situation. The culture in your new country is likely different from what you're used to. When you encounter these differences, it's important to find ways of adapting to your new environment. Adapting can help you fit in better and overcome challenges as they occur.

Related: Adaptive Skills: Definition and Examples

7. Manage your expectations

Whether it's increased pay, improved skills or anything else you might expect from moving to a new country, it's important to manage your expectations. Keeping your expectations reasonable can help you maintain adaptability in the face of any potential unexpected changes and differences. Managing expectations can also allow you to foster positivity when you encounter unexpected situations.

8. Research certification requirements

If your job requires certifications, those requirements might differ in your new home country. Researching these requirements can help you earn new certifications before you go or prepare to earn those certifications once you arrive. Understanding these requirements could also help you begin the certification process before you move, so you can complete it more quickly after moving into your new area.

9. Prepare living arrangements

Many areas have housing and property listings online. Through these websites, you can find a living space you like, contact the owner and arrange payment plans and any rental paperwork needed. Completing this process can offer you the comfort of having a place to stay once you arrive. It can also give you more time to complete other arrival tasks, such as finding transportation or meeting with your employer.

10. Visit before moving

A good way of familiarizing yourself with the area, culture and people in your new country is to visit it before moving there. A few days in your new environment can give you time to do things such as:

  • Tour your neighborhood

  • Find important spots, like local businesses, hospitals and police stations

  • Learn some of the nearby roads and paths

  • Meet your neighbors, landlord and new boss

  • See your living space in person

  • Sign any documents you need

11. Consider your current home

Depending on the length of your stay abroad, it might be necessary to sell or rent your current home or end any lease agreement you previously entered. Understanding whether taking these actions is necessary and the deadline for doing so can help prepare you for completing this process. If this isn't necessary, you might still wish to arrange for someone to take care of your home, collect your mail and make sure your things stay safe while you're away.


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