So you are planning to move abroad, but you don’t have all the information you need? Read the second part to help you with your preparations for moving abroad. It is not easy to find out all the laws of the country about immigration, especially if you don’t know the language. Find people who do, connect to social media (that was helpful for me getting to know the Dutch in Macedonia) and forums.
Step 1: Establish your network
Although I had someone who took care of my visa and knew about the entire process, there is still a lot that can slip your mind. I found a lot of information about what to do and what not do, from my network. So step 1: start networking! It sounds so easy and yet actually it is. I reached out for help from Dutch people in Macedonia, some were very helpful and others not so much. But trust me, you will need all the information you can get.
Step 2: Write it down
After you established your network (it will keep growing), write everything down, that’s step 2. There are two processes, one for entering a country and one for leaving a country. As I mentioned in my previous blog about being prepared, find out everything from the institutions in your country. How does it work with registration, your insurance, your drivers license, your taxes from last year and this year, your bank account? What do they need from you when you move abroad? Write everything down and keep asking and calling people. This is not a small thing you can do within a day, this needs preparation and you are the only one that can do this, so you need some help.
Step 3: Start planning
After you figured out the two processes of emigrating and immigrating, step 3: start planning. When do you need to cancel what, do you even need to cancel that? For example I cancelled my insurance after I moved, I still needed my insurance because in Macedonia this took some time to get insured. And I still have Dutch travel insurance, because it was really cheap!
So now you have a whole overview of the processes and your schedule when to do what for you big move abroad. I figured out that having a postal address in the Netherlands would be much more convenient, but I figured this out after I moved to Macedonia. That was a big mistake, I needed to call back and forth to establish everything and change it. It is time consuming so please do this before you move!
Step 4: What is necessary?
Step 4: make a decision in what you think you still need from your country. I still use my Dutch phone number, because everything from the governmental institutions is connected to that. And I have my Dutch bank account (of course!) and travel insurance and that’s about it.
‘Scheduling and decisions’
Step 5: you are moving!
So exciting! You figured out everything, you are up to date about all the processes and know what you need to do once you settled in. And now the moving part. It really depends where you move, how far that is and what you want to bring. I moved 2200 km, but my dad wanted to bring me by car so that was awesome! The only things that I brought with me were personal stuff, kitchen stuff and clothes. Ok the car was fully packed, and there was only place for my dad and me, but it was the cheapest (and most fun) way.
There are international moving companies, or you can have a whole container filled up and brought to you. I had that option as well, because I worked at an expedition company, but the prices for all kind of transport are very high. Than there is this thing, what you don’t have you can always buy. That’s why I saved up money for a year and only brought the stuff that I could bring in the car.
‘Try to adapt’
One more tip: Language
While you arrange everything for your big step of moving abroad. Pay attention to the language. I found a Dutch woman who teaches Macedonian and before I moved I had private classes on Skype and after I moved I continued with the classes. Really everyone will be so much nicer to you if they see you at least try to speak the language. And one of the most annoying things for me is when I see foreigners not adapting to the country where they choose to live.
Although some people don’t believe that much in networking (neither did I to be honest), it is recommended. Within my network here in Macedonia I found a job! And after half a year, another job! I don’t have a huge network all through Macedonia, but I am lucky to be surrounded by some successful and helpful Dutch people. And my experience, people who move abroad are always helpful to those who need help and advice. So create a network of reliable people and keep in contact with them. The people from my network became my friends!
Are you curious what happened to me in my first year abroad, be sure to check out this post !