It is possible to live the expat lifestyle, with aspirations of living sustainably and happily in a foreign country with attractive benefits. It isn’t always easy or straightforward, but it is possible.
While it would be ideal to arrive in a new community, find accommodation, and settle into a new life, this is sadly not the case. You can do it for a limited time (usually up to three months) in certain places, but the process becomes more complicated after that.
This is why it’s essential to think beyond the obvious. Apart from deciding how long you can remain in a country and which visa you may need, there are several other factors to consider to ensure a smooth process and a smooth transition to life in a foreign country.
1. Get to know the language
Yes, English is a worldwide language these days, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn the local language of the country you choose to live in. It would be best if you did so.
It is not only respectful of your new country, but it will also help you by allowing you to interact more effectively, meet more people, and gain a better understanding of the local lifestyle and culture. As a consequence, life as an expat would be infinitely more satisfying.
Begin with the fundamentals, set aside sometime each week to extend your knowledge, and concentrate on the advantages of learning more. You can use language apps to help you learn a new language. Take it slowly at first, learning a few new words each day, and you’ll see results quickly.
2. Be open to the unexpected aspects of expat life
It can be tempting to live in a foreign country. However, there will always be challenges or aspects of life that you may not see coming. Certain items that are simple in your home country can be difficult in your new country.
There will be cultural variations and traditions to which you will have to adapt. Life will be different in general, and the more you recognize this before you arrive, the less stressful your experience will be.
Maintain an open mind, learn as much as possible, and respect the differences. This will allow you to adapt quickly and with minimal friction. Making local friends is beneficial, as is socializing with other expats who have lived in the country for a long time.
Rather than locking yourself out, it is preferable to learn and participate in the new world. It might not be easy at first, but life will become even more rewarding once you find it out.
3. Be aware of your financial situation
Although it will seem that you are moving to a low-cost place, it is essential to spend some time determining how much you can plan to spend. A reasonable budget accounts for unexpected costs that you do not anticipate while relocating abroad.
If you run the air conditioner for 10 hours a day, you could end up paying more than $200 in electricity every month. This could have a significant impact on your spending, and it would be an unpleasant surprise if you didn’t know about it until you arrived.
In certain nations, the cost of signing a contract to rent an apartment or a house is extremely high. Other countries may have fewer public transit options, causing you to take more taxis than you would usually, resulting in a higher cost. Various financial surprises can occur, and it’s best to be aware of them ahead of time.
Asking questions of those who already live in the area you want to visit is the best way to get accurate details. Facebook groups, Reddit forums, and other online communities are great places to ask questions and get real answers that will help you figure out how much money you’ll need each month to live the lifestyle you want.
4. Earning a living
It’s fantastic if you can work off your savings or retirement accounts. However, if you need to live, you can study the rules before relocating to your new country. In general, obtaining a work visa that allows you to work for a local employer can be difficult.
A job offer that shows the organization couldn’t find any locals to do the work is usually needed. This is tough, and unless you’re traveling between European Union countries as an EU resident, the chances of getting a visa are slim.
It’s ideal if you work from home. There are visas available in countries such as Portugal and Germany. These are for those who work online and want to remain in their country as a citizen. As a result, you can wake up, continue working, and escape the taxation laws, making the transition to expat life much easier.
Other countries that do not offer such a visa may find it more difficult, but it is still possible. All you have to do now is look at the local tax and jobs laws and see if they might relate to you.
If you teach English online, design websites, or even work remotely for a company in your home country, wherever you end up, it would be easier than looking for work in the country.
Of course, if you operate online or have a small one-person company, it’s best to check that your operation complies with your home country’s laws before moving abroad. This could include having a proper business structure, tax numbers, a bank account, and business insurance, which doesn’t have to be a massive outlay but can provide valuable peace of mind.
Last but not least
The allure of the expat lifestyle is genuine, and it’s now easier than ever to achieve. What you don’t want to do is decide to relocate to a foreign country, purchase a plane ticket, and then discover that the process is far more involved than you expected.
Being an expat can be very difficult if you don’t take the time to grasp the situation before you leave, from cultural surprises to unforeseen expenses to visa rules to job eligibility, and so on.
It’s worthwhile to do your homework and study ahead of time. This will undoubtedly make the transition from living in your home country to those wonderful expat dreams go more smoothly.