When You Decide to Move Overseas, Do These 3 Things First!!

movingThere are reasons for needing to make the big move. In this highly connected world, work can take you anywhere on the planet. That work may be a permanent military posting. Maybe you just want to go to Italy to learn to make the finest espresso. Or maybe you have been stuck in Alabama all your life, and want to see how different the rest of the world can be. It’s your life. And you don’t have to justify your choices to anyone. But if you do have a family, there is some preparation you will need to make. You might want to start with these three things:

Get Familiar with the Culture

If you plan to move overseas (regardless of which sea), you will need a lot more than a couple of guys and a truck. Starting with where you will live. Will an apartment or a flat suit your needs? Or will this be your forever home? Then you have to find a property and arrange the financing too. When considering overseas mortgages this can be a particularly complex process to navigate, so you may wish to buy from Simon Conn or a similar overseas property and finance specialist, who has access to numerous overseas mortgage lenders. Then, once your place to live is settled, you will want a moving company that offers more than just a pickup and drop-off service.
United Van Lines is a good example. For international movers, they make the following claim:
Our moving experts can help ease your transition into your international assignment. From destination orientation to cultural training, we’re here to help plan your international transition.
Most companies can put nicely packed boxes on a vehicle, then at the destination, drop them off in your new living room. That might be sufficient if you are moving across town. Try to find companies that will help you culturally acclimate. Just don’t leave it entirely up to the moving company for that. Crack open a book. Study some history. Watch some local television programing. Learn the difference between bangers and Mash, and spotted dick. Culture is vital. Start the assimilation process well before you call the movers.

Learn the Language

You can never fully assimilate without learning the local language. That goes double for the kids. They will not be able to make local friends, and keep up in school without it. Even if you spend a year at the junior college learning the language, you will need a lot of practical experience with it once you get there. This practical experience can be gained through intercambios.
An intercambio is like a student exchange group for learning a new language, but far less formal. These groups often meet in bars. The participants speak in one language for 30 minutes, and the other language for another 30 minutes. This experience will be different from the classroom experience, as the teacher will speak slower in class. Also. average speakers do not use classroom perfect language. These intercambio groups play an important role in facilitating real world language skills.

Learn the Laws

It is the same everywhere in the world: Ignorance of the law is no excuse. As an American in a foreign country, you cannot count on leniency. To put it bluntly, Americans are not well regarded in many parts of the world. Don’t be surprised if you get the book thrown at you for a minor infraction.
It is also a simple matter of respect. Which side of the street should you walk on? What is the proper way to dispose of a cigarette butt? Where is it okay to smoke? What about recycling? There is a lot more to know than the proper side of the street to drive.
Make lifestyle, language, and law your top three priorities when moving overseas, and you will be off to a great start.


  • Cheryl Reinhardt

    Great tips, yes I agree you need good moving and packing services.
    Learning the new language and culture of a place you are moving is essential so you can thrive in a new environment.
    Good Post with helpful information.

  • Rebecca Kellerman

    This is a great post! This is especially applicable to me because I am in preparation to move overseas to teach English. It is an exciting adventure that I am looking forward to, but of course, I am a bit nervous. I’m hoping everything goes well.

  • Shayna Gier

    I cannot imagine tackling a huge move across counties! I like visiting, but it’s just too far to leave all of my family- who are located nearby.

    That being said, the advise you give here is very practical, and were I to want to move to a different country, it would probably make the move easier than if I had never read this.

  • Debbie F

    What a great opportunity to learn a different language!!!
    Being immersed in it is the best way to become fluent.
    I’m trying to learn Russian right now and whew! I think I’ll need 7 years to even become conversational – but if I had the chance to live there for a bit it would be much easier.

  • Sarah L

    Knowing the language and culture, even if you’re just beginning to learn the language is a big, big help. I lived in Germany for 2 years and it was such a big help to speak the language.

  • Nataile Brown

    There are a few places I’d like to live overseas. I’d hadn’t thought of learning the local laws though. Good to know there’s places to go and research. 🙂

  • Marnie G (Derrick Todd)

    It is definitely a very different lifestyle living in another country. Learning the culture is very important as well as learning to speak a few of the basic words.

  • Pamela Gurganus

    I’ve never lived overseas, but would like to some day. These are some great tips! Thank you for sharing.

  • Tamra Phelps

    I would definitely try to learn the local culture. You can only coast so long on “Sorry, I’m not from around here!”

  • Lea

    Very well put. I would also add to check out the local markets, restaurants and night life. One other addition would be in regards to pets. What will be allowed for walking, parks, if and what allowed in your living area?

  • Rosie

    I’ve been seeing articles about retiring to another country. That spooks me, I’m sure it could be good, but it is probably better to try it when you are younger, if you can! It sounds exciting if it is a good place!

  • Tiana

    My husband and I were toying with the idea of moving overseas one evening and looking up different countries we might be interested in to see some of the rules/requirements involved. One HUGE thing to consider are your pets! The quarantine laws vary greatly from country to country and some are quite outlandish in our opinion (up to 6 months without our cats seemed too traumatic to possibly face in Australia!)

  • Charlene

    I think you gave really sound advice. It’s very important to know as much as you can about where your going. This way your not totally confused when you get there.

  • John Thuku

    Those are some very important and wonderful tips to remember. If you apply them, you will have a wonderful experience. Thank you for sharing them.


    Great tips as ever Connie (sure, I wouldn’t expect anything less!). I think some thing that is difficult to master isn’t just the language, it’s the way we use language in other cultures. It could be our use of actual words or our humour. For instance, even though I was born in the UK of English & Welsh parents, when I moved back to work there back in the late 80s, I spent all evening of my first night in my new flat waiting for the neighbours to pop in. Why? Because they’d said ‘See you later!’. To me that meant later that same day, whereas it was just a way of saying ‘see you around’ or ‘bye for now’! Cultures differ widely across the world and getting first hand knowledge via a native or ex-pat is by far the best way to learn all the little nuances that make us different. Vive lá difference!

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