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Back You are here: Home Lifestyle Life Dislocation Relocation: A Short Guide to Moving Abroad

Dislocation Relocation: A Short Guide to Moving Abroad

So you want adventure? Or maybe you're just planning escape? Thinking you might broaden your horizons and with it your resume?

To some of us, the world beckons irresistibly. With every news story, novel, with each episode of Nat Geo and Lonely Planet we are drawn in a dream world of imagining our current life falling behind us as a the plane rises from the runway. But how does one do it? Where does one start to leave everything familiar behind?

First, you need somewhere to go. You've got some research to do, so refill your coffee and crack those knuckles. Luckily for the modern adventurer, the internet is loaded with info on pretty much anywhere you think might be in the running. You'll need to look at costs, job markets and visa rules, language difficulty, housing, and especially customs. No place will earn a perfect 10 in all events. There is no Republic of Eden out there so don't bother Googling that one. You'll need to rank what you think is important in a place to live for a while and take it from there. Do be careful of the customs. A bad match there will ensure a bad experience.

After you've got your tickets, given your notice at work, and sold the sofa to your uncle Jerry, you should have a good time. The last 2 weeks before moving to another country is always lots of fun. You can't sleep anyway, so you might as well be having drinks and soaking up the envy of most of your friends. You're actually doing it: living the dream. Enjoy your celebrity send off.

Upon landing in your new country of choice, follow the locals to the reality based pricing taxis and get to your (hopefully) pre-arranged cheap hotel room. Drop off your stuff and get right to work finding some ex-pats to interrogate. No one is a better source of info for you than a seasoned foreign resident. Find an Irish Bar and buy a few rounds for someone. You'll find its money well spent. They'll usually be friendly about helping you out and don't have any vested interest in steering you wrong. Don't hound them too much though or they'll excuse themselves and escape to a bar you'll never find.

Once you've acquired some usable information from your future drinking buddies, attack the job and housing scene. It's very important to hit the ground running in a new world. Any "adjustment" period you give yourself will inevitably delay your adjustment. The way to adapt is to get in the water and swim. Things will take longer than you'll like anyway so don't delay. Keep an even head and remember that it's not your country and you are a guest there. Relax. Talk to people nicely. Be polite. Patient persistence will pay off in a decent or at least very interesting job and a roof over your head.

There are very few experiences as fulfilling as making a new life in a completely unfamiliar place. It will always stand as a testament to your courage, resourcefulness and ability to think openly. You will gain so much as to make you wonder if you had learned anything before that. You'll meet thousands of new people, and some friends that you will keep forever. Living abroad allows you to see your own country in ways you never can by not leaving it for a while. I'd like to see it required by law for all Americans. So go ahead. Go on and dream and plan. Go out and see the world. You can always go back.