This does not mean that you are to never return to your home country or that you have to renounce the nationality you were born with. It simply means that you are currently living outside the country you were born in.
Being an expatriot is an exciting adventure but one that is not short of challenges. When you are considering becoming an expat, keep the following in mind:
Go On An Extended Stay
Taking a week long vacation to a favorite, all-inclusive resort in your country of choice is not getting the whole picture of how society works. Anyone choosing a new nation to live in is strongly advised to take time out to visit that country over an extended period of time and live “in town” by renting. Pick up local newspapers, try the local transportation system, buy groceries, go shopping, locate churches, ect. Get to know what real life is like for the locals.
If you are planning on working there, talk to locals to find out the process for obtaining a work visa, what kinds of jobs are available, what the rate of pay is and how much taxes are.
Pay attention to safety. Do you feel safe going out at night? Are people walking or riding their bikes?
Write Down Your Expenses
Keep a journal of what you are spending on rent, utilities, transportation, groceries and entertainment to see if it is actually feasible for you to live there. After a month or so, you will have a good idea of what you need to earn to live there. It’s great to do your research on line before you leave, but each region can have subtle differences that may add up depending upon how close you are to a metropolis or the beach, ect.
Explore Health Care Options
Does the location you are moving to have health care facilities near by? Visit a local doctor’s office and the hospital to see if they speak English. Consider purchasing international health insurance and include this in your expense report. Even in countries where there is a state funded healthcare system there are often limitations to the scope of care given for free.
Participate in activities that will allow you to establish friendships with people. Volunteering is a great way to meet a group of people with like interests that you will get to see over and over again. Notice whether or not the locals are accepting of foreigners and if the language barrier is not too great.
Friends are great resources for making your expatriate experience more successful. They will give you all kinds of referrals for doctors, dentists, restaurants, activities, ect.