Moving overseas is an exciting and horizon-expanding time. You get to experience life in another country taking in every nuance of the culture, and your time overseas becomes a journey of discovery.
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Often, American citizens living abroad is a sink or swim affair. The ones that tend to swim are the ones that have done a little research, got all their affairs on point, and are ready to embrace a new life without the technicalities getting them down.
Here are a few tips to get your new life off to a flying start.
The first thing to do is to research the country you are planning to live in. As well as the norms, the culture, history, and geography, it is a good idea to study from the point of view of a foreigner. This will avoid unpleasant surprises. Try and get as much information as you can on your destination country.
If the native language isn’t English it is a good idea to start to learn the language if you’re not fluent in it. This will help you join in, and being able to hold a basic conversation will be a great start overseas.
If you’re moving overseas due to work, some of this will be done for you.
Taxes are a complicated area at the best of times, and some US expats have found that they fall foul of double taxation which is no fun. It is best to find an accountant that is well versed in US expat taxes so you only pay as much tax as required. Let’s face it, you want to get out and explore your new home and this is more fun with some finances behind you.
Give Yourself Time
Moving overseas even to another English-speaking country will involve a period of readjustment. It won’t be the same as America, and this takes getting used to. Once you develop a routine for daily life the rest of the puzzle pieces will slowly fall into place. Like any kind of relocation once you start making friends the rest follows.
Most of the human race generalizes to some degree and you will no doubt encounter generalizations about Americans. If you can brush this off so much the better. The fact that there are 300 million Americans and so the idea that everyone is exactly the same with the same beliefs is laughable will not have occurred to some people.
As such, just let your personality shine and gently point out that not every American is made the same.
Make Local Friends
To get a truly overseas experience it is important to make local friends. Some, tend to gravitate towards Americans and though this is fine, you’ll miss a lot of the good stuff about your new home if you do.
Through making local friends, you’ll experience will be richer and deeper, and they’ll also know how the country works. This is great for when you need to sort out a bureaucratic issue.
With the right approach, moving abroad can be a great adventure. Embrace it.