So you’ve decided to work abroad and are now in the planning stages of your big move. Congratulations! Working and living abroad is always an enriching experience and you have a lot to look forward to. Being a Healthcare Professional brings many advantages as most occupational groups are in high demand globally. But, before you book your plane ticket and pack your bags, there are quite a few things you’ll need to prepare for before you can head out on your adventure.
Your working abroad checklist
It can be really overwhelming to think about everything you need to prepare for at home and in your new destination before you can make the move. To make the process easier, use this “working abroad checklist” that we’ve put together for you.
1. Find the right job and location
If you haven’t lined up a job yet, the most important task is finding the right job and location for you. You can do this by either applying to an employer directly or by contacting a recruitment agency to help you find the right job for you. You can search both these options at www.endorsejobs.com. There are healthcare professional opportunities in so many different locations.
This might go without saying, but before moving to work abroad, take some time to research your destination. This research will help you every step of the way, as being well informed will help you to be more relaxed during the rest of the process. Find out about the culture, customs of your future home and learn some interesting facts.
Good old travel guidebooks are a great start to get an overview. You could also talk to people you know who have spent time in your chosen country, as the first-hand experience is invaluable.
One of the best parts of moving abroad to work is that you’re essentially getting paid to travel. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to save up before your move. It’s important to save up a “Buffer Fund” to help you out during the first month and until you get your first salary.
There are always costs involved with moving abroad. In addition to travel costs, you’ll likely need to pay for at least one month’s rent and deposit upfront. You might also have to buy a few things that your accommodation is lacking, such as furniture. In many jobs, you may also have to wait a month or more for your first pay check to arrive. Therefore, make sure you find out when you’ll get paid and save up enough to bridge the gap. However, keep a look out for those employers and agents who offer a ‘Golden Hello’ or ‘Salary Advance’, this is one way to work aboard, even though you’re broke. Some employers and agents also cover the costs of flights and the first months accommodation.
Moving abroad isn’t quite as straightforward as packing your swim-suit and jumping on a plane. Besides preparing for your new destination, you’ll also need to take care of business in your home country.
Make sure you understand the bureaucratic processes involved in moving. Do you need to de-register? Should you notify your embassy (some countries recommend this)? Do you need to notify your bank or insurance company? Depending on whether you’re subletting or giving up your house or apartment, make sure you take care of utility bills. Do you need to store or sell your car and cancel or downgrade your car insurance?
Also, don’t forget about those pesky smaller costs, like subscriptions and gym memberships. These can be easily cancelled, but you can easily find yourself in trouble if, for example, you close your bank account without cancelling direct deposits and standing orders first. You should also arrange to reroute your mail to family or friends or use a mail forwarding service to take care of this for you.
6. Storage or selling
This comes down to how much stuff you own and whether you’re keeping your property or planning to take everything with you. A move abroad is a great time to go through all your belongings and downsize. Decluttering is an incredible relief and you’ll be thankful to have fewer things to worry about. Long-term storage is available in nearly all cities and is quite affordable. If you have close friends and family, many will be happy to take many things off your hands either for free or to borrow while you’re away.
7. Packing & Paperwork
You might think that packing is one of the last tasks you’d need to worry about, but a lack of preparation can easily lead to a lot of headaches and panic packing before your big move. Make sure you plan what you want to take with you, how much luggage you will travel with and consider mailing a box or two of your things in advance so you don’t have to worry about checking multiple suitcases. The general rule when packing for any trip, no matter whether long-term or for a weekend, is to lay out everything you want to bring and then halve it. If you’re not moving to an extremely remote corner of the planet, you can probably buy almost anything you need, or forgot, in your new home. One exception to this rule is prescription medicines. Every move abroad comes with a lot of paperwork to tackle. Make sure you research visas, work permits and taxes early on, as it can take a while to get everything approved and set up.
Ensure you contact your professional registration body to understand what you must do to retain your professional registration. This could include supplying regular evidence of continuous professional education, annual payments and revalidation. You don’t want to return home needing to undertake return to practice programme or supervised practice so better to be prepared prior to your departure.
No matter how well prepared you are before your trip, moving to a foreign country always means experiencing a bit of a culture shock. After the initial excitement has worn off, you’ll likely start feeling how different everything is and maybe even get a little homesick.
It’s completely normal and you shouldn’t feel bad about it or let this discourage you. Many people change their minds and move home because they’re not prepared for this. But, if you know this is just part of the process, you can get through it and enjoy your adventure again. Try to keep exploring and enjoy yourself as much as possible. Go on weekend trips, meet other expats at meetups and tick items off your bucket list.
9. Learn a bit of the language
If you move to a country where you don’t speak the language, it’s a great idea to get a head start before you leave home. Try to at least learn the basics and consider taking a crash course to make you feel more comfortable when you arrive. Speaking a bit of the language already is another great way to prevent culture shock.
Banking is another one of those pesky tasks that you’ll have to add to your list. Make sure you know whether you’ll be able to use your bank cards at the cash machines abroad. Understand the fees involved and consider getting a debit or credit card with zero foreign transaction fees. It’s also a good idea to have at least one backup card just in case yours gets lost or stolen, or if the banks abroad don’t accept it. Inform your bank when your travelling and for how long, many banks will block your card if they see if is being used overseas. Some also close your account entirely due to a lack of activity.
11. Get a medical check up
It’s always a good idea to get a medical check-up before you leave home, especially if you’re moving to a country where healthcare is expensive. You should also stock up on prescriptions for any medication, contraception or contact lenses you need, as there is no guarantee you’ll be able to get them abroad. Go to a doctor well before your move so you have plenty of time to get any medications and vaccinations that might be necessary.
12. Get international health insurance
While we’re already on the topic of health, make sure you research the health insurance requirements of your destination before you go. For example, some countries offer free healthcare for people on working holidays. Other countries are more complicated, so you might be better off getting international health insurance for expats. This is not the same as travel insurance, which is also recommended, to cover you for delayed flights, lost luggage, etc.
13. Make a bucket list
While everyone has different reasons for wanting to move and work abroad, travel is usually a major one. You’ll be wanting to explore your new home country and city as much as possible and it can be really helpful to make a list of all the places you want to visit, the food you want to try and the activities you’d like to experience. That is way, you’ll avoid leaving everything to the end of your stay and then scrambling to find the time to sight-see.
14. Start building a network
Reach out to people you might know in your new destination. Do a shout out on social media to see whether any of your friends know people who live there. It’s always nice to arrive in a new place and already know someone who could show you around.
You should also join local online communities. Facebook groups and meetup groups are the easiest way to meet other expats and locals before you go. If you have a hobby, research local groups that share your passion, which can join on arrival.
Now to the more fun tasks. You should have already informed all your friends and family, and now it’s time to get together and throw yourself a little leaving party. It doesn’t have to be a big affair. But your close friends and family will appreciate spending as much time with you as possible before you move. Prepare yourself for being asked the same questions over and over. A nice idea could be to put up a map of your new home country with some fun facts so that your loved ones feel included.
Now you can get excited about your upcoming adventure! While you’re caught up in all the preparation and checking things off this working abroad checklist, it can easily feel more like a chore than an adventure. It’s so easy to get lost in all the hustle and bustle of preparing a move abroad, that you might end up super stressed and anxious. Remember to take a step back, remind yourself why you’re embarking on this new adventure and get excited.
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