3 important things to do once you’ve moved overseas
You’ve landed in your new home and found the best place for coffee. Now it’s time to make it official. The sooner you register for local services, the more established you’ll feel. Somewhere to live, a job and a few friends – these essentials will make your new location really feel like home.
Finding a home
First things first. If you haven’t been able to do so from Australia, finding a place to live is important.
Start your search where you start so much these days: online. There will be numerous rental services and realtors for the area you’re looking in available to you at the click of a mouse.
If you’re younger and on a working-holiday visa, you may be interested in sharing a flat – for budgetary reasons, social reasons or both! Free online flat-sharing bulletin boards let you surf for houses, flats and rooms to rent and allow you to browse for and post what you’re looking for in a flatmate. One extremely helpful – and international – bulletin board is expatriates.com, where you can place a free ad under ‘Housing Wanted’ and browse ads under ‘Housing Available’ in your country of choice.
If you’re relocating your family, not interested in flat sharing or just need a little more help, it’s a good idea to align yourself with a local real estate agent. They can show you homes, give you some of the inside scoop on your areas of interest, help you narrow your search and answer questions about the local rental and property market.
Phew! You’ve got a roof over your head! Now put your own stamp on it. Unpack – it’s usually a lot more fun than packing – and start to create a space that feels homey.
Next, no matter how organised you were and how much you took care of in advance, there’ll still be other to-do-list items you couldn’t take care of until you got to your new country. Now’s the time to tick any of the boxes you didn’t tick while still in Australia, such as setting up your local bank account or finding a doctor. It’s also time to tackle those tasks that you simply couldn’t do from Australia. For example, if you’re in the UK you can apply for a UK National Insurance number, which you need in order to work there, only once you arrive.
Another key to settling in is getting the lay of the land. Get out and about in your new neighbourhood – find your local supermarket, movie theatre, church, pub, café, restaurant and a good takeaway joint. Also familiarise yourself with your nearest transport options, such as bus stops, train stations and taxi ranks.
Locking in a job
Gainful employment is next on the itinerary. You’ll be able to rest easier – and enjoy your travels more – with some money coming in. The job you land will depend on your stage of life, your work experience, your visa status, language considerations (if you’re in a non-English-speaking country) and some of the other standard job-search factors.
For backpackers, students enjoying a gap year and other young travellers, teaching English or doing a working holiday may be options.
In some parts of the globe, those who can teach English are in high demand. However, this does require taking several steps before you leave Australia: you’ll need to get TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified through an online or face-to-face course (which costs money) and find a school, assuming you’ve already chosen your country.
If you’re travelling on a working-holiday visa, getting a job often comes with the proviso that you can work in one place for only six months. Many working-holiday positions are low-paying, such as bartending, waiting and office assistant roles.
For older, more seasoned and skilled professionals, you’re most likely seeking higher wages and a role that draws on your talents and advances your career. This can also take some time and effort. But there are a number of ways you can get a leg up.
- Frequent job boards: Find your new country’s equivalent to SEEK and make sure employers on LinkedIn know you’re looking.
- Network: As is often the case in today’s career sphere, it’s who – as much as what – you know that’s key. Do as much networking as you can on LinkedIn and Facebook, through online expat groups, at networking events and by talking to people who have worked in the region.
- Research the skill shortages for your new country: Perhaps you’ve got something they need! For example, engineers and nurses are often in high demand.
- Tap into recruiters: Don’t be afraid to call in some help.
- Stand out: Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are up to date and highlight your strengths and achievements, and be prepared – but be yourself – in job interviews