We are now learning alternative ways of managing our life during the current global health pandemic. With this in mind, have you been rethinking your move overseas? Or have you changed your mind from moving? Delayed for the time being, or now more convinced to pursue your move?
I am here to tell you not to discard your dream or plan. Yes, the world is experiencing an unprecedented health crisis, but we will get through it. And your skills, expertise, or experience will be vital in our reshaped world. Your plans for employment, or becoming an entrepreneur abroad, might have been put on hold because of a temporary closure of the borders. However, once locations reopen, and the economy needs rebuilding, you should be ready. Take this time to prepare yourself for your move. Make a plan, get expat coaching, research your location, and find your opportunities. Talk with current expats and weigh your options.
Moving overseas is a leap of faith as well as stepping out of your comfort zone. In doing so, you can find yourself in a location where you may or may not speak the language. Yes, you will learn to settle-in by exploring your surroundings. Establish the basic needs of operations like banking or transportation. There is also the opportunity to meet new people. The experiences you gain with an international move enables you to explore your authentic self and potential. They change your life, routines, and broaden your perspectives. All this may sound overwhelming. But let me provide you with some reminders about why relocation is still an excellent direction for our life.
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Trust Your Global Mindset
You would not consider living abroad if you did not have a global mindset. Part of the mindset is understanding being away from home. Another part of the mindset is managing the evolving world around you of potential and real crisis. Once you have a plan, move about life as usual in your international location. Let your desire for seeking a life-changing experience take its course. Become as an asset — as a knowledgeable, culturally astute employee or business person. Our interconnected global market allows you to join an organization or become a digital nomad. In either case, you can work remotely with a stable internet connection. Take the adventure and opportunity to work from anywhere in the world. Once your mind is open to your global potential, you will find possibilities on any continent.
Learn the Language & Culture
There is no better time than now to learn a new language and become culturally competent. Yes, you can relocate without knowing the language. My recommendation is to learn some basics. It goes a long way for bridging communication gaps and building trust. Understanding the basics in the local language can help you gain a new cultural perspective. Having daily interaction at the local market, on public transport, or at restaurants, will help you adjust in everyday life. Believe it or not, the more you try to speak the language, more often than not locals will also help you learn.
Expand Your Career & Network
Let me mention again, our global economy will need rebuilding, and your skill sets could be in demand abroad. Why not consider your move and be prepared for a new job? Or become an entrepreneur to fill an emerging gap? There are gaps in healthcare, teaching, technology, training, mental health, and all things digital, to name a few. Spend the upcoming 15-60 days updating your resume and cover letter, and submitting applications. Since social distancing is the order of the day, connectivity has changed. So hop on a video conference platform with family and friends. Or reach out to a career coach to practice your on-camera presence. Another way to prepare for your job search is by making connections and expanding your professional network. Again, since our virtual world did the order, do some outreach, support, and share knowledge. Let others know you are an asset during this time and can be an asset to their organization in the future. There is no better time to expand your contact list. That includes attending virtual networking events or sharing helpful information on social media platforms.
Develop Your Community
As you know, moving abroad allows you to meet new people and build friendships. You will encounter locals and other foreigners like yourself. And you will create a dynamic and vibrant living experience. It is also possible to have an expat community. There you can connect with other like-minded people. Your interactions will help you manage homesickness or cope with the culture shock you will experience. Be open to invitations from coworkers or people in your co-working space. Take advantage of local holiday festivities, and do not forget to explore the city. In a mere matter of a few weeks, you will settle into your new location. In addition to settling-in, remember to maintain your relationship with connections at “home.” New realities abroad have given us an expanded capacity for building and managing family and friendship. And the ability to maintain our work relationship regardless of time zone or crisis. You must set aside time to nurture old relationships while seeking new connections.
Grow in Patience & Expectation
I am happy you did some research and narrowed your location. You now have employment prospects and even thought about your new lifestyle. However, while becoming rooted in the new city, things will not always be ideal. So, be patient, flexible, and trust that the process is working in your favor. Know that the infrastructure, process, and procedure are different in every country. The bureaucracy and regulations are sure to test you. But, you will have gained inner fortitude for returning home or your next country. You can develop an appreciation or not for the processes and systems in the last location. I have lived in five countries, and none of my relocations were perfect. I have had learning curves about culture in the Middle East. I also had to adjust to foods in SE Asia, or slow immigration possesses in South Asia. I have learned to manage my expectations about the process with the local cultural context, and I recommend the same for you.
You have done your homework or are in the process. You know there are benefits if you choose to move abroad. Take the time to get ready, whether it’s developing your business opportunities or applying for a job. It may also be a good time to do some other preparation like decluttering your living space. Let your family know you still plan to move or create the final back-up plan. As a current expat and expat coach, there is no better time than now to do your planning. Hire an expat coach to guide through your process, help you avoid common pitfalls, and prepare you for a smooth transition. Your journey awaits, and you should be ready when the airport door opens and border restrictions are released. Take a leap to live your best life adventures overseas. Are you ready to start checking your moving to-do list for your next new and existing opportunity!
A version of this article originally appeared here on May 20, 2020.