Starting an International Life: What’s Next?iStockphoto
After the first few days, international life can become somewhat stressful.
The first few days of your new international life may have passed, and you have figured out transportation and accommodation and have found a way to deal with the language barrier. If that is the case, you are all set to dive into the more complicated aspects of your international life. In fact, these hurdles are the ones many expats fear to jump when they start an international life abroad. Local bureaucracy, language barriers and cultural differences often make them difficult to cope with.
Starting an International Life: Provide Your Contact Information
By now, you have found your dream house or at least a place where you can picture yourself staying for the duration of your international assignment. Then it is time to provide offices as well as your family and friends with your contact information.
It may seem tempting to focus on your loved ones back home. Of course you want them to know how to get in touch with you anytime. Post cards, personal letters and care packages from home will ease your home sickness and improve emotional situation during your international life significantly, after all.
But wait! Before you start looking forward to handwritten notes and the smell of your favorite candy, you should take care of official matters first. Get in touch with government offices that handle your visa and your international moving company.
Starting an International Life: Go Job-Hunting
Ideally, you have secured a job before you got on that plane that would mark the beginning of your international life. Maybe you have already paid a few visits to your new home abroad to attend interviews and visit different companies. Or you are one of those typical expats whose company has transferred them abroad. But not all expats embarking on the adventure of international life do it the traditional way.
The most adventurous who choose an international life go on the job hunt as soon as they arrive. This can be risky, of course, and requires a lot of preparation and knowledge of the local job market.
If you are one of those adventurous types, you shouldn’t put off the job search for too long. Take a look at our article on finding a job abroad to kick off your international job search. After all, a solid income is essential, so that your new life will not turn into a nightmare.
Starting an International Life: Back to School
Choosing the right (international or local) school for your children is trickier than you may expect. It all depends on your children’s fluency in the new language, on their age - younger children adapt easier to their new environment - and on the duration of your international stay.
If your child does not know the local language yet or if your assignment takes less than six months, you should consider a bilingual or international school. These schools do not only offer excellent education, they are also experienced when it comes to dealing with children leading an international life. This experience and the international student body can minimize the culture shock and help your children adapt.
However, for a longer stay and if your children are still little, you should also consider a local public or private school. It will help a child immerse in the local culture and learn the language. Thus, it will be easier for your kids to feel at home in a foreign environment and the culture shock involved in any international life will not hit them as hard.
Either way, your budget is an important point to consider. International schools are usually privately run. They offer a lot of extracurricular programs and excellent education for those who spend their life away from home. Unfortunately, they can also cost quite a lot of tuition – for expat families, an international life often comes at a price…