Simple solutions to common problems that come with living abroad

Rob Braileanu

 · 05/18/2015  · 05/18/2015

Moving abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Now that globalisation is in full swing, it’s never been easier to work and learn in an entirely new environment or language. But each country has its own unique challenges for foreigners who are missing their country, language, and customs. Here are some helpful tips for tackling the most common problems you’ll encounter while abroad.

1. Visa Applications

The most difficult challenge to confront when moving abroad is immigration. With understaffed offices and unclear visa requirements, applying for an opportunity to work or study abroad can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. Play it safe and set aside a generous amount of time to process your visa paperwork. Know the ins and outs of the visa process, requirements, and fees before approaching a potential employer, sponsor, or office of immigration to avoid unnecessary delays or any confusion.

2. Moving Costs

Living abroad can be addictive. Chances are that you’ll want to stay abroad for an extended amount of time, so instead of putting all of your belongings into storage, seriously considers downsizing everything you own. Practicing minimalism will cut down on future spending and shipping fees enormously! Most people working abroad also opt in for furnished apartments so furniture will never be an issue for true traveling nomads.

3. Making Friends

To make friends abroad, simply join communities that are involved in activities or causes that you feel passionately about. Using apps like “Meetup” to find hobby-based events and like-minded people is a great way to engage with locals and travelers alike. Using Meetup also takes the awkwardness out of meeting new people since everyone has actively sought out methods for making new friends (just like you!).

4. Language Barriers

The quickest way to learn a new language is to be totally immersed in it. If you’re struggling to carve out time for language classes, try looking for a local language partner to put the fun back into learning. Usually a free resource, a language partner is a local who is looking to practice his or her 2nd language with someone who is a native speaker. If you speak English and want to practice your Chinese, find someone who is looking for the opposite for an hour or 30 minutes at a time. Unlike the stressful atmosphere of a classroom, feel free to exchange ideas and customs in an informal setting, such as a coffee shop. Language partners take the intimidation out of learning a new language.

What are your tips for travelling abroad?