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Living abroad: advantages, disadvantages and where to start

Living abroad is a big decision. And, like any big decision, this one also requires a lot of planning like visas, housing, knowing how to send money abroad, working as an expat, etc…

And for that dream not to die on the beach, we list below the main tips and information you need to know before packing your bags and moving to another country, check it out:

Advantages of living abroad

Know new cultures

Living abroad is an enriching experience from a sociocultural point of view.

The contact with people and customs different from the ones you know until then will make a huge difference in your personal growth and in the way, you see the world.

Improve the curriculum

The experience of living abroad is always welcomed by company recruiters.

This means that spending time in another country will make your resume more interesting and attractive, opening up new possibilities for employment and income, whether when returning to your home country or in another country.

Maturity, responsibility and independence

It is practically impossible to go through the experience of living in another country without maturing, gaining responsibility and greater independence, both financially and emotionally.

This is great because it makes you realize your full potential and ability to overcome.

These characteristics arise from simple things, such as having to wash their own clothes or cook their own food, or even more complex things, such as placing themselves in the job market or ensuring fluency in another language.

Fluency in other languages

If you are going to live abroad, whether you like it or not, you will practically be forced to learn a new language.

In addition to English, the language of first necessity for any country you visit, it will still be necessary to learn the local language.

The longer you stay abroad, the greater this need, especially in countries where only the local language is accepted.

Travel even more

Being in any country in the world and, practically, the certainty of being able to travel even more and, consequently, know more places.

If the intention is to live in Europe, for example, it is possible to visit numerous countries. First because you will have free passage between them, second because the cost is much lower than it would be if you were leaving from your home country.

The same goes for countries on the African or Asian continent, for example.

Disadvantages of living abroad

Longing is inevitable

You won’t be the only person to go to live abroad and miss practically everything: family, friends, the city, the stores you used to frequent, among many other things.

The longing will hit hard, but at these times, the way is to keep control over emotions and to relieve this pain a little, make a video call with parents, brothers and friends.

Cultural shock

In addition to homesickness, living abroad is the daily exercise of dealing with a culture that is completely different from where you used to live.

This difference can be felt in the smallest things that used to be part of their daily lives and that now, due to a cultural, economic and social difference, are no longer involved.

This is the case, for example, of greeting people with a kiss on the cheek or laughing out loud at a party. The more conservative countries, for example, do not tolerate this kind of thing.

You will also need to learn to deal with the numerous gastronomic differences in countries around the world.

You know that full buffet at lunch time? It just doesn’t exist in other countries! And maybe your local dish? Neither!

Change of plans

Be prepared for sudden changes in plans when living abroad.

It is natural and expected that many things do not go as expected, precisely because you are dealing with very different places, people, situations and cultures.

So be flexible and be willing to touch the boat as the tide dictates. A good tip is to try to make only short- and medium-term plans. Leave long-term plans for after you have settled more securely in the foreign country.

Expectation x reality

The idea here is very similar to the previous one and, perhaps, this is one of the biggest difficulties for those who are going to live abroad.

Most of the time, people tend to project expectations far above average, imagining that they will arrive abroad with their dream job, living in one of those movie houses and earning enough money to support themselves and the family that stayed behind.

However, this is not always the case. That’s why it’s important to keep realistic goals and not create too many illusions.

At first, things can be complicated. You will have to adapt to a new country, a new culture and a new language. In addition, you will still have to support yourself with a job that will not always be the one you believe is the best. So, go slow!

How to live abroad

Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of living abroad, the time has come to find out how to put the plan to live abroad into practice. 

What do you intend to do out there?

Have you ever stopped to think about what motivates you to live abroad? Is it for work? Studying? Take a gap year?

Each of these possibilities will require different planning. For those who want to work abroad, it is necessary to first obtain a work visa.

Staying in a country illegally is risky and you could be deported and prevented from returning.

Furthermore, illegal workers can become cheap, almost slave labor, earning very little and with no labor law to protect them.

Therefore, it is essential that you know the immigration laws of the country you want to live in and how the work visa works.

Another important point is the language. The more fluent you are in your native language, the better your chances of getting a good job.

Those who intend to live abroad to study should, first of all, be attentive to the language.

If your intention is just to gain fluency in the language, go to the right country, that is, to learn Italian you need to go to Italy, to learn English go to the UK or USA.

But if your goal is to take a course in a specific area, learn about the programs of each college, the legal requirements and the costs of staying there.

This is even very important for those who get a visa as a student, as most visas for this purpose allow only 20 hours of paid work per week, which may not be enough to cover your needs.

Finally, if your intention is to take a gap year, do some good financial planning before you pack and make sure you have some of the best experiences in your travel itinerary. So, when you return you can expand (and a lot) your possibilities of work and income.

All documents ready

Once you’ve decided which country to live in, start looking for information about the documentation needed for this move.

The documents required vary greatly from country to country, so be sure to check the official websites and the country’s consulate.

If you have the possibility to apply for citizenship for a country, it is also recommended that you do so. This opens doors and streamlines bureaucratic processes.

Don’t forget to check if your vaccinations are up to date.

Have a visa and take care of your passport

A visa and passport are a fundamental part of the plans of anyone who wants to live abroad.

Order in advance and wait. It may be that you get everything very quickly, or it may take a while. Just in case, anticipate the process.

With the document in hand, do not neglect your passport for even a minute. The loss of this document can give you a tremendous headache.

Financial planning

There are countless things to worry about before moving abroad, but none of them are as important as financial planning.

He’s the one who will define your entire experience abroad, so it’s critical that you give him as much attention as possible.

Ideally, start planning at least six months to two years in advance.

Include in your planning expenses with housing, food, transportation, leisure (after all, no one is made of iron), in addition to the initial costs for leaving your country, such as fees for documentation, airfare, transfer from the airport to the hotel (if has not found a home), among other items that you consider important.

Remembering that planning must be done in the official currency of the country in which you want to live. So you don’t get any scare when doing the conversion.

Find out more about the country you want to live in

Research and minimally study the characteristics of the country you want to live, not just the culture, but economic, social, geographic and climatic aspects.

So, it is! The weather is very important. Not all countries in the world are tropical like ours. So it’s good to be prepared to face cold and snow.

Learn the language

You don’t need to be fluent in another language when leaving your home country, but it is highly recommended to know at least the basics to keep communication to a minimum.

Focus on the most used expressions and words in everyday life and ensure that you will know how to communicate in everyday situations.

With planning and determination, you will see that living abroad is not something that difficult to achieve.

And to further reinforce your enthusiasm, look for testimonials and profiles of people on social networks who have already embarked on this adventure.

You will get a good idea of ​​what it is like to practically live in another country.