How To Experiment In International Living
Many people like the idea of living abroad, but they're unsure of how to experiment in international living. Imagine quitting your job, selling your home, and moving halfway around the world only to find out that you only like the idea of exotic. In reality you can't live without 127 channels of English language TV and Sunday dinners at mom's. If you think you'd like to chuck it all and move to Brazil, but you really can't afford to be wrong, here are some tips on how to experiment in international living.
- Do research. Don't just look at pretty pictures and apartment listings in the city you think you're dying to explore. Investigate local customs and laws. Check out crime rates. If you're a gym rat, see what workout facilities the city has to offer. If you're a single parent, research daycare. Figure out if you will need or want a car. Compare the cost of living to where you currently live, taking exchange rates into account. If you're a female body builder who loves beer and driving, Riyadh is probably not your city.
- Learn the language. It's natural to think you can get by with English pretty much anywhere you'd really want to live, but it's just not true. It's one thing to be a tourist dealing with hotel staff, waiters, and shop attendants. It's a much much different thing trying to get a telephone line installed or talk to the only plumber in the neighborhood who works nights. If you can't be bothered to put the time in to learn the language, you're too amateur to experiment in international living. Get the travel channel. If your experiment in international living would take you to another English speaking country, learn the local dialect and idioms, otherwise you could end up insulting someone without even trying.
- Put your toe in the water. Experiment with international travel before you experiment in international living. Who knows, you may hate being thousands of miles away from your friends and family. You may not be able to deal with the loneliness you're very likely to experience when you first move to a foreign country. You may not be able to deal without hot and cold running beef jerky for even two weeks. If you have more than one location in mind for your move, this is also a way to explore and rate the merits of the contending cities.
- Take a dip in the kiddie pool. Most countries allow Americans to stay for relatively long periods of time on just a tourist visa. You can spend three months in Paris or six in Edinburgh without having to go through the bureaucratic hassle of actually moving abroad. Take a summer off and experiment with an appetizer portion of living internationally.
- Figure out how you'd earn a living. Unless you're independently wealthy, you've got to earn a living, and most countries have pretty strict laws that govern this issue. Unless you can find a US company willing to send you to work in your dream city, you may have to live off your savings or try to find an international charity to work for.
- Dive in. If you've done your research, learned the language, traveled a bit, and finally spent some serious time in your dream city, and you still want to experiment in international living, you might as well go for it. Just make sure that your savings are adequate enough that you can pull the plug at any time and get you and your family home in one piece.