Even if you don’t have property or ongoing bills in the after you leave you’ll still have bills to pay or money to transfer to your new country. Banks don’t offer the best exchange rates for money transfers, and you should consider using a professional foreign exchange specialist.
Learn the language
In many countries, you can get by without knowing the local language – but you lose out on so much by not learning the language. Even just knowing how to say hello, please, thank you, excuse me, and “I don’t understand you” in the local language will make your life in a new country much easier.
Learning the language will help you read packaging, understand signs in public places and help you decipher bills and correspondence.
Our advice is to learn as much as you can before you arrive, and join a class as soon as you arrive. Classes are also a great place to make new friends and begin to settle in to your new life.
Prepare for homesickness and culture shock
Even the happiest, most well-adjusted expat yearns for a taste of home. Food that you never ate at home suddenly becomes the stuff of irrational cravings. There are plenty of expat-focussed sources of a taste from home, but the cost is often prohibitive. Buy a couple of cookbooks so you can re-create your favourites, and perhaps discover some new ones with a local twist.
Install Skype or Facetime, so you can have face-to-face chats with friends and family. It isn’t the same as being there, but it helps with missing those you’ve left behind when you can see each other talking.
If your international move is taking you back home, be prepared for reverse homesickness and culture shock. Some sources say it is even more difficult than culture shock in a new country. Be sure to bring things from your last home, as you’ll find yourself missing them much more than you expected to.
Know the local rules and laws
Some countries are notorious for their restrictions on behaviour and attire in public. Others may not be so well known, but ignorance of the local laws and rules can find you quickly in trouble. Be sure to investigate local laws, customs and regulations to ensure you stay on the right side of the law and happy in your new country.
In some countries, you will need to register with the police not long after your arrival, be sure to know the regulations about this, and ensure you’re registered within the permitted time.
Exchange your driving licence
In many countries, you’ll be able to simply exchange your US driving licence for a licence in your new country. However, there are many countries where you’ll need to take a driving exam.
Whether you need to take a driving exam or not, you should familiarise yourself with the local driving rules, since they differ from country to country. It is also a good idea to book a driving lesson or two, to help you be aware of the subtleties of driving in your new country.