Before even considering what shirts to pack, you must prepare yourself first. That entails preparing your attitude, your mindset, and answering the most basic questions.
Here are the Top 5 Must-Dos that will make or break your experience abroad.
- Kill Debt.
Or at least seriously knock it down.
If you have overwhelming debt before you leave, then odds are good you’ll have even more debt when you return.
For example, if you can’t sell your old house, make sure a tenant’s rent will cover most if not all expenses.
- Be Healthy.
Starting an adventure like this can be tough on the body and soul at first. Maybe the best preparation is starting with good health, physical and mental.
- Smile. Go with the Flow
Packing your toothbrush is important. But not as important as packing a sense of humor. It really goes a long, long way when sharing someone else’s country. Just remember, no place is perfect so don’t expect moving to a new place will erase all of life’s woes. You’ll leave one set of problems just to pick up a new set. The test is what set of issues are you able to handle.
- Avoid Analysis Paralysis.
Don’t get bogged down in every detail. Sure, plan, but paralyze yourself from doing. For example, learn an overview of the neighborhoods in your target city, but don’t bother judging between streets. Some things are just better discovered when you arrive, listen and learn.
- Prepare for the Unexpected.
This goes back to the thing above, about having a sense of humor. As an expat, there are so many times when you just think “What are they thinking?” or even “What the hell?!?”
Prepare to be surprised, even shocked occasionally. (It is called culture shock, after all)
Just understand that ahead of time, it will happen. No big deal.
Or, skip everything above and just go for it by just jumping in head first.
Learning a Language
I can highly recommend one service for learning languages. That’s Duolingo or Memrise. I also use a personal tutor via Skype for a very cheap rate.