Making the Transition to Living Abroad

Individuals move away from the U.S. for a widespread range of reasons. Some move, either temporarily or permanently, for their jobs and careers. Others depart the country to relish in a retirement lifestyle, to take in a new backdrop and to stretch their retirement savings a bit further. Still others move away from home to chase a romantic relationship, or simply to increase adventure to their lives.

Whatever the reason for living out of the U.S. , and however exhilarating the possibilities may be, the beginning stages of an international relocation are often unbelievably stressful. Suddenly you may find yourself in a community people can barely understand you and you are unable to read something as simple as a restaurant menu or as necessary as the traffic signs. You may feel alone, unanchored and unprepared. To top it off, you may find yourself making a bunch of  financial errors because you don’t yet understand local tax laws and business custom policies.

As bad as this all sounds, don’t let these difficulties deter you from making an exciting leap to a new country. Transitional challenges affect people at varying levels, and it is critical to remember they are transitional issues — they don’t last forever, or at least they don’t have to last if you take the right steps.

The infographic below, How to Survive Your First Year Living Abroad, is a beneficial guide for anyone contemplating making a move out of the U.S., or people who have already made the move and are struggling to gain a firm foothold on their new turf.

To summarize the infographic, it could be said that two key principles for a life abroad are to stay busy and get informed. The more you network with the local people, the more you expose yourself to the local culture, the more you see and the more you do, the less bizarre everything will be. And although the best way to learn is by doing, reading up and getting educated on tax requirements and other financial business will be of great value in money matters big and small, from wealth preservation to setting the weekly food budget.

Perhaps the most calming advice given in the infographic is to be patient. Select people living abroad feel right at home the day they arrive, or even within the first month or two. Everyone is different: Some people do well with the unknown and the unpredictable, but most of us do better when we have a sense of stability and familiarity with our surroundings. Acquiring those things takes time, so give yourself the time you need to feel at home.

For more tips and techniques for a fast and enjoyable transition to overseas living, please continue reading the below infographic- created by Expat CPA.

Graphic created by Expat CPA.

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