The Three Must Do’s Before Expatriation
If I could only give three “quick” basic recommendations to new expats or expats embarking in a new assignment before they move, I would tell them to:
- Read and research as much as possible about the new place they will be establishing their home. Having a good amount of information before moving to an unfamiliar country can facilitate things once there, can save expats time, energy and money, and can also help them adapt quicker and better to their new environment. It could also prevent expats from making mistakes related to culture, housing, local regulations, schooling, insurance, etc…
- Connect with other expats that have lived or that are currently living in the country they are moving to. Other expats are a great source of information for those moving for the first time or embarking in a new expat journey; as they have lived and experienced what the new expats are about to go through. Relying on other expats is fundamental to understand life in a different country and culture and to potentially create bonds in the new destination.
- Start language lessons as soon as possible. Once assigned to a place where the language is different, it is recommendable to start proficiency language lessons even before moving because they will allow expats and expat spouses to at least have some understanding of the language and reduce the amount of frustration and of “things to-do” when landing. In addition, locals appreciate the effort internationals make to speak their language and will respond better if approached in the local language. After the first couple of months have passed and the turmoil of the move has ended, expats will be able / will have the time to resume their language lessons or language exchanges in an effort to gain a higher level of proficiency.
These three simple recommendations will surely facilitate the transition of expats from their home country to a different one and will make things easier upon their arrival. Even if they are busy preparing the move, looking for housing or schooling, they should dedicate some time to the recommendations mentioned above as they could potentially make or break the expat experience.