Moving to a new city overseas. Practical tips

Moving to a new city overseas. Practical tips to help your move.

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I had lived Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA by the time I was 25.

I have lived in the cities of Melbourne and the Gold Coast in Australia and a collection of other towns New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

Moving cities or towns can be both an exciting and scary prospect for many people, it is important to remember no two moves are the same. So any advice I give can only be general and subjective in nature and is according to my own experiences.

If you move cities for work, it is a different experience to moving to a new city for leisure, for love or for travel. Having said that, here are some simple tips which have always helped me.

Note: There is always a ‘cooling off’ period which occurs during a move. The first few days may be either very exciting or very hard and stressful. After you have become settled and fallen into a routine your opinions and feelings towards your new home may change; so be prepared for that rise and fall in emotions and energy, it’s normal.

Before you move:

Make sure you have healthcare insurance or travel insurance.

Get a general understanding of the healthcare system:

If you are moving abroad it would bode well to get an understanding of what access to healthcare or emergency services like ambulances you have. If you have an accident will your insurance cover it, or are you covered by the country you are now living in automatically?

Convert some money into your new foreign currency:

Take out the equivalent of $200USD in cash in your new foreign currency to have handy when you arrive. This will help if you need to make purchases like taxi’s or food if your bank card suddenly stops working.

Get a Travel Debit Card with foreign currency:

Find a bank card you can get in your home country will allow you to load some of the new foreign currency onto it. If you are moving long-term you should open a bank account in your new country.

Join a community Facebook page to look for housing if you have not already found accommodation:

Decide if you will move into a share house (living with others) or move into a house by yourself.

Plan your arrival:

If you are arriving via land, sea or plane; take a look at the map and organise how you plan to get from your arrival location to your accommodation location.

Look up sporting facilities near your new accommodation:

It helps to already research a gym you would like to join, a sporting club that interests you like sailing or football. This will help you meet people and also build a routine which establishes new norms.

Look up hobbies or cultural features that this city offers that align with your personality and values:

Does this city have sailing, soccer, tennis, running clubs or sporting facilities you can join? Does it have cool cafes or art galleries.

Pack the essentials:

Phone, wallet, passport are the big essential items you truly need. I would strongly advise against bringing large electronics, furniture, white-goods or household decorations. A backpack with some clothes and toiletries is all you need to get started. Being lightweight allows your more freedom and flexibility to move around.

When you arrive:

Buy a Sim card:

If you are moving to a new city overseas, it is a huge asset to have a sim card and a phone number in a foreign county straight away.

Convert your driver’s license:

to your new state or country that you have now moved to. If you have a driver’s license, it is a huge asset to be able to use it in a foreign country.

Open a bank account:

 All 3 times when I moved to New Zealand, the United States and Canada I opened a bank account in those countries. It helps your employer be able to pay you, and it helps to be able to pay for things yourself with a local debit card. Opening an account usually requires you to get a Tax File Number and present your new bank with your Passport and your work Visa so they can open you an account.

Get your bearings:

 What is north and south of you? Where is the closest bus or train terminal or your new accommodation? Where is the closest shopping centre or grocery store for when you do your first shop. What national parks are close by? What is the history of the city and what are its major landmarks and public spaces like museums, art galleries etc.

Understand how the public transport system works:

Do you need a transport card? Do you have any concessions or discounts as a student or senior citizen? In cities like Melbourne for example, you need a card called a “MyKi” to access public transport. This MyKi is purchased as a convenience store or on train stations, is then ‘loaded up’ with an amount of money you choose. This loaded up amount serves as your travel credit to use on transport like buses, trams and trains. This kind of system exists in many cities.

Look for employment (if you haven’t already):

It is advisable to have employment before you move, to make the move easier but it is not entirely necessary. Contrary to what some people may think; it is totally possible to move to a new country without a pre-arranged job. Given that you have enough money to support yourself for a month and that you trust you can find work. I moved to Canada and New Zealand without a job and was able to quickly find work in construction and seasonal employment.

Buy a car:

Having a car will greatly alter your experience in a foreign country. This will mean you have the option to accept jobs further away from home, or you can drive to national parks and explore the landscape. You can go camping or adventuring on weekends. In countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada which are huge; having a car will mean you can actually access the countryside and the potential for a greater experience is exponential. Of-course some people may disagree with this, or say it is too expensive or too difficult to own a car, but I personally believe it is a huge asset to your experience. Having a car also means you can ‘sell’ the car when you leave, and make back some of your initial outlay, so it is not always a loss of funds.

I hope these simple tips help your move.

In summary: get your personal administration like bank cards and phone numbers sorted, join some kind of social or sporting club and find a way to get around your new city!

That’s pretty much it.

Remember moving can be stressful and there is no shame in going back if your new city is not for you.

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