Live abroad, if you can. Understand cultures other than your own. As your understanding of other cultures increases, your understanding of yourself and your own culture will increase exponentially.
People seeking an expat lifestyle have many different resources available to help them plan and anticipate their lives abroad. When I first started my expat journey in 2009, the number of websites and articles was much fewer.
Now, however, there are videos, guides, books, and blogs. Honestly, it can be overwhelming but there are a few ways to sort through the chaos. I’ve found that I can categorize websites into several “buckets” to help focus my exploration on one thing at a time:
- Paperwork, for visa requirements, eligibility criteria, application procedures, and processing timelines
- Taxes and Finances, for tax residency rules, tax filing requirements, and applicable tax rates
- Housing and cost of living, for housing options, rental or ownership requirements, and local area information
- Community, for opportunities to connect to local expats and residents to learn more about the areas
If you’re like me, then you might like to spend some time gathering as much information as possible for a specific category, and then sort through gradually. The first three categories, paperwork, taxes and finances, and housing and cost of living, are usually available through web searches. The final category, community, may require some extra time to discover.
If you’re interested in moving to a larger city, then Internations.org is a great place to start looking for community, since they have live events in English for the expats in the area. Several of my friends have also had really good luck with Facebook groups, too. If you’re not sure where you want to end up, then Expatica.com or ExpatExchange.com are great places to find a local forum for questions and answers.
If you haven’t visited the Expat Bookshelf yet, I’ve assembled a variety of resources to help you plan your move abroad. There’s no single path to becoming an expat. There are, however, many common experiences that expats and future expats will encounter, and the resources in the Expat Bookshelf are great starting points for a variety of questions.
The Clever Expat
Learn so much more in our LIVE events!
Are you ready to start exploring your options and make the move to become an expat? Check out the Clever Expat LIVE course, “Where to start as an expat.” This course helps you build the foundation for the essential steps in your expat journey, including finding the host country that’s right for you, what to expect as you plan your expat life, and designing a “preview trip” for an immersion into your potential new home.