Moving Abroad? How to Find Other Expats To Make Your Transition Smoother
Moving is one of the most stressful activities that life can put in front of us. It puts a strain on time, work, finances, and the lower back.
One’s financial life is typically the area that bears most of the burden. This is all doubly or triply so when moving abroad.
But several online resources are geared specifically towards helping new expats. For example, travel insurance offered by companies such as AXA PPP International can cover you for emergencies of all sorts, and serve as your health insurance until you find an affordable local option. And, many countries offer free or low-cost assistance to new residents, particularly in Europe, which could include legal help, translation resources, language classes and more. Some Scandinavian countries, for example, will even assist new residents in finding work – and go as far as retraining you for the job.
As for information, expat forums are virtual networks of private residents, companies and, in some cases, government agencies. They offer tips related to handling changing banks, looking for a flat, registering with the local authorities and and even procuring employment before making the move itself. In addition to assisting in logistics, these forums can help with the secondary concerns that cause people stress once the move is underway or completed. The biggest benefit of the forums, however, are their members, people who have done it before you and are willing to help with advice.
InterNations.org: Internations offers a forum for people working abroad, with members in 300 cities worldwide. It allows people to meet each other based on interests and hobbies, provides forums for information, and frequently organizes events that are open to all “international” residents of the local communities. In addition, it does some charity work with kids from underprivileged backgrounds.
AngloInfo: AngloInfo provides curated information on moving and living abroad for 81 regional websites run by local experts, with 3.5 million users. This includes in-depth and mostly up-to-date information on paperwork, finances, apartment shopping, setting up a family move (with data on local schools, for example), and much more. In addition, the site hosts classified sections for each one of its local websites. As the name suggests, it caters to English speakers.
Expatexchange.com: By becoming a member of the ExpatExchange, you gain access to local individuals taking advantage of some of the same recommended services, or meet with experts in person in order to acquire further assistance. Membership is free, although personal consultations may come with a small fee depending on the service provided. The network gives you access to over 50,000 members across the globe. Parents can find guides tailored specifically to them. Users who submit new and valuable tips via their website are eligible to receive up to $75 in compensation.