How to Kick off Your Expat LifeiStockphoto
Don't forget to connect with both locals and friends back home.
Speak the Language
You should also use these first days to get a general grasp of the local language. You may still be far from fluent at this point, but attempting to speak the language will help you get accustomed with the locals and will ease your transition abroad.
Try to order your food or ask for directions in the local language. A dictionary or general guide book can help you with that. Of course, it won’t hurt if you jot down some standard phrases beforehand or even learn them by heart. The locals will surely appreciate your effort.
At the end of the day, you will be surprised of how much you may already understand. Being confronted with the local language on a daily basis will help you become fluent in no time. So starting on your first day is always a good idea.
First off, getting connected is essential to let your loved ones at home know that you are safe and sound. Especially during the first few days, it will help you reach out to your usual support system and deal with frustration and uncertainty. However, it will also make the job and apartment search a lot easier.
If you do not want to sign a mobile phone or internet contract right away, you can get a prepaid card for your cell phone instead. It is a quite convenient option and allows you to be flexible. If your host country is using the same system as your home country, you may even be able to keep using your mobile phone from home. Unfortunately, it can get really expensive if you need to use services other than basic phone calls and text messaging.
To use the internet, try to figure out if there are any Wifi-hotspots available. Many cafés, libraries or public places offer free Wifi. So make sure to bring your smartphone, laptop or netbook along.
Get Your Paperwork
Different countries have different visa requirements. Some countries solely need you to apply for your visa from abroad, and once that is settled, you are free to enter the country. Others however, require you to register or complete additional paperwork to complete your registration once you have arrived. So depending on where you are heading for your expat experience, you will have to face different administrational issues.
You may also have to apply for a local ID or driver’s license. This will help local government officials to identify you without having to deal with foreign papers. However, no expat experience can be compared to another. You alone will know the individual situation in your host country and what exactly it is that you need to apply for, get signed or issued.
It is absolutely important that you take care of these things upon your arrival abroad. It will help you avoid additional stress that comes with missed deadlines and waiting periods. Also, government officials usually take a lack of necessary papers very seriously, and depending on where you are, you may face hefty fines.