People move to cities abroad for lots of reasons. Perhaps you’ve chosen to study at a university abroad? Perhaps you’ve found a dream job in an overseas city? Or maybe you’re simply looking for a big change in life?
Whatever your reasons, it’s essential that you prepare yourself for the adventure ahead. There’s a lot to consider when moving to a new country and even more to consider when moving to a city where the costs are likely to be more expensive. Below are just a few tips for moving to a foreign city.
Apply for the right visa.
Every country has different visa regulations. There may be different visas to apply for depending on how long you plan to stay and what you plan to do while staying. Make sure to apply for the right one—you could be denied entry or arrested for having the wrong visa.
Work visas are necessary if you plan to get a job abroad. If you’re studying, you’ll need a separate student visa. In some cases, you may be able to take up part-time work on a student visa—this is worth looking into beforehand.
Spend time researching accommodation.
City accommodation can be expensive. However, usually prices will vary depending on the area. It could be worth researching each area to see if you can save money. Be wary that cheaper areas may have drawbacks such as higher crime rates or fewer amenities.
In some cities around the world, there may be different classes of property to research into. For instance, in Singapore you can buy HDB flats or condos—both are forms of apartment, however the former tend to be a lot cheaper. Understanding how local mortgages work could also be essential when buying property. If you are renting and you are a student, consider whether there are separate forms of student accommodation to rent.
Save up as much as you can beforehand.
It could be worth saving up a lot of money before you go. There could be many hidden costs that you run into when you arrive – having this money to dip into will prevent you running your finances dry in the first few weeks.
Find ways to save on public transport.
Public transport is often the easiest way to get around a city. Most cities offer monthly and annual public transport passes for long-term residents that can save you huge amounts of money on transport fees. For instance, S-bahn weekly and monthly tickets in Berlin can result in huge savings.
Where possible it’s best to avoid taxis. In most cities, there may also be little reason to own a car (driving will be a nightmare and you’ll spend a lot of money on parking).
Consider your healthcare.
The healthcare system may be very different abroad. In some cases, it may be free, however in other cases you may have to pay for it. Consider whether you need to apply for health insurance—if you don’t have it, you may be unable to get treated while you are there. On top of looking into insurance, make sure that you know where clinics are and make sure that you know the local emergency number.
Decide whether you need to learn the lingo.
English is spoken all around the world and you’ll usually find plenty of English-speaking residents in cities, however it could still be handy to learn some of the local language if you’re living somewhere in which English isn’t the official language. There will be some instances where you need to talk to locals who may speak limited or no English. Knowing a few key words and phrases could be useful in these instances. You could try taking lessons before you move or you could try learning the language on an app.
Push yourself to be social.
It’s easy to feel isolated when moving somewhere new—especially if you have no friends or family living there. Going out and meeting people can be important for your mental health. There are lots of ways to do this in a city – you could find a club related to your interests and join this or you could try meeting people online. You may alternatively be able to make friends with coursemates or work colleagues.