Amanda Lamb: my top ten tips for making that move abroad a success

Monday, October 01, 2012

Amanda Lamb: my top ten tips for making that move abroad a success

Buying a holiday home abroad, somewhere that you can escape to a few weeks of the year, is one thing but moving lock stock and barrel to a brand new country is a whole different ball game. Of course there's nothing new about emigrating and it's no longer seen as something only the brave or maybe the foolhardy would consider doing. I have always been of the opinion that life is a daring adventure or nothing at all, so I would urge people to give it some serious consideration if they are tempted. After all, what's the worst that could happen? If you don't like it after a while and you're unhappy then come on home, there's no shame in that. It's far worse to spend the rest of one's life wondering “what if”. As always, analysing your motivation and doing your research is the key so I've put together my Top Ten Tips to help guide you though.

1. Think long and hard about it. It's not something to take on flippantly, especially if there are children involved. You have to be sure you really want to give it a go.

2. Make sure you do your homework, holidaying and living somewhere are two completely different things. The world is such a big place you have to be sure you are moving to a country you could eventually call home.

3. If you are planning on working, make sure you can. Check visa situations (are you allowed to work there if you're not a resident?) and unemployment levels. In certain countries, like Spain, where the unemployment levels are high, you may struggle to find work.

4. Think about family and friends. Everyone says they will visit but realistically most people can only manage a few days a year and Skype isn't a substitute for the real thing. If you are moving to the other side of the world, how often do you think you will return home, are you the sort of person who could cope with living so far away from loved ones?

5. Think about renting for a while in your chosen country. That way you can get a real feel for the place at different times of year. Is it really for you? If not you can always return home without the added worry of trying to sell a property abroad, or you could always move around the chosen country until you find somewhere you like.

6. Rent out your UK house, don't sell it. If you're a homeowner and are thinking of taking the plunge, have a back-up and don't put all your eggs in one basket. By renting any property you have here, if you do want to return home you will find the transition much easier if you can move back into your old house.

7. Visit your chosen destination (if it's practical, Australia is a bit of a schlep!) as many times and in as many seasons as you can before you move there. Marbella and other resorts are very different in the winter than they are the summer.

8. How are your language skills? If you move to a country where English is not widely spoken, you have to make an effort to learn the language. It's not enough to speak English very slowly and very loudly. You'll find people will respond to you much more positively if you attempt to speak to them in their own language.

9. Embrace the culture. Some countries are very different to the UK. Siestas aren't put on for tourists; they are a way of life for lots of people. Lots of countries move at a slower pace than we do – including services and trades people. It's something you'll have to get used to.

10. If you are moving with children, think about their education and how the move will affect them. A lot of countries have international schools, where the English curriculum is taught, or do you want them to be educated in the local schools with a local syllabus?

PS don't let this put you off: sometimes all we need is a very deep breath and a huge leap of faith!


A Place In The Sun