The thought of international living can be daunting, especially when first arriving. Local customs can be overwhelming. Take a deep breath and realize what an amazing opportunity you have. Living abroad will give you a different perspective and provide you with unique experiences. Live it up!
1) Immerse Yourself in the Culture. Don’t be afraid to get to know the place where you’re living. The only way this new place will feel like home is if you embrace it with open arms.
2) Register with the Embassy. Make sure the Embassy has a record of you being in-country. You never know what may happen and they can also be a good resource.
3) Learn the language. English is usually the common denominator between various cultures. However, learning and using the local language will help you to adjust to your new surroundings and feel more at home. Negotiating or asking for directions in the native tongue is not only a way of showing respect, but it will help you to improve your language skills. There will be one less barrier between you and your new neighbors.
4) Find a good doctor. You should always be prepared in case you get sick. You should know where to go and the best way to get there.
5) Make Friends, Local & Expat. Making new friends isn’t at the top of my most favorite things to do. But it’s necessary when living abroad. Consider what your interests are and find local meetups. It’ll help you find people with similar interests and ideas. You’ll make new friends in no time.
6) Volunteer. Finding a good local organization to volunteer with regularly is a good way to use your time wisely while overseas. It will also give you an opportunity to meet other locals and find out what issues plague the country you’re living in.
7) Don’t be afraid to try local fare. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Always try the local foods. You never know, you may end up with a new favorite food!
8) Be confident. You may look like an outsider, but in my experience if you walk with confidence, less people will try to get over on you.
9) Put your safety first. If find yourself in a curious predicament, always err on the side of caution.
10) Think about what you want from the experience. Make a list of places you want to visit and things you want to do. And then go forth and conquer! Which brings me to my next point…
11) Don’t wait to do anything. Plan your trip and don’t put off doing anything. You don’t want to put things off and then realize that you won’t have time to do everything you wanted to do.
12) Download apps to stay in touch with your family. With advanced technology, your family won’t feel so far away. FaceTime, Tango, What’s App, Skype, Google Talk and Viber are some of my favorites, but do some research and figure out the best ones for you. When you’re a little homesick, your family and friends will only be a phone call away.
13) Take Pictures. You’ll have your memories, but memories fade. Make sure you document this experience with as many pictures as possible. You’ll be able to look back and relive your experience for years to come.
14) Investigate banking options. Decide if you want to stay with your home bank or if opening a bank account in-country would be a better option for you.
15) Be Open! This is a rare opportunity to live out of your comfort zone. Enjoy, embrace and share it!
You have any tips for living abroad? Comment below!