Making the decision to leave Thailand to become an expat in another country is a thrilling endeavor that will expand your horizons and make you a more well-rounded person. While it is an exciting prospect, it is not without its complications. However, you can make the move to another country easier with proper planning and an understanding of what to expect.
There are many considerations you will need to make before your move. You’ll need the right paperwork, adequate funds, a plan for where to live, and if you are bringing family with you, you will need to think about how to make sure they’re comfortable with the move and new life abroad. Make a checklist and mark off the items below so you will be set to go when the big day to leave arrives.
As an expat, you will need to make some considerations for when you first get into the new country. Do your research and contact the embassy or consulate at your destination location to determine which visa you may need. There will be requirements based on the country you want to move to, which might include having certain skills, paying predetermined fees, and in some cases, you may need to show proof of international health insurance to cross the border.
Even if the country you wish to enter does not require proof of coverage, you will need to think about purchasing health insurance once you arrive. It is important to realize that insurance costs vary from place to place, and in the days of COVID-19, it is essential to have some form of coverage.
If you find a job that offers health insurance, you will need to account for the deduction of that benefit from your paycheck. Also, keep in mind the potential to need to quarantine for a predetermined amount of time before you can start working.
It is also important to take a close look at the job you will have or need when you enter your new country and verify that it will be enough to provide for yourself or your family. To understand this, you will have to look into the cost of living and how much money will be required for the basic goods and services that you will need to live. Also, investigate the tax rate in that area and consider that into your budget so you can truly understand how much take-home pay you will keep.
In order to work in the country of your choice, you will need to speak the language, at least at an intermediate level. If you are set on your destination, it is a smart idea to take classes and start to learn the language before you even leave. Not only will a new language help you to communicate with your future coworkers, but by stating that you are bi-lingual on your resume, you open the doors to more career opportunities.
Language skills are only one area where you may want to improve in order to find a good job that will pay the salary you require. Some potential expats may be excited about the idea of continuing their current career in the new country, but it is important to remember that all countries are different and you may have to learn some new rules. For instance, the field of accounting differs from place to place, so consider furthering your education before moving the family across borders just to find that you are not qualified for your dream job.
Speaking of the kids, you will want to consider how you will continue their education in a completely new country. There are different schools of thought on this. Some believe that it is best to put the kids in a local school so they can learn the culture and the language. Others think that an international school specifically designed for students of dual-culture families is the best way to go. The choice is ultimately up to you. If you are interested in the latter option, then the International Schools Database, is a great listing of the best schools in over 71 countries that will give you a good starting point.
If you are thinking of bringing your family over to the new country, you will want to give everyone the best chance of success. In order to get your bearings and have everything you need within a reasonable distance, consider moving to a city environment for the next year or so. A well-populated area will provide enough stores to supply your food and other necessities and a better opportunity to find a good job than you may find in a more rural atmosphere.
Many expats start their residence in a new country by moving the family into an apartment, but keep in mind that depending on where you live, there may be financial requirements you may need before you can secure a spot. For instance, in the U.S., you will need to have an adequate credit score in order to sign a lease. If you have bad or non-existent credit, then you may have to find a workaround that could include getting a co-signer or moving in with a roommate from that country. Create a plan now so you can have a roof over your head when you arrive.
Unfortunately, not all expats can bring their family along for the journey, but even if they cannot be there in person, you can still use technology to keep in touch. Consider looking into an international phone plan or a messaging program like WhatsApp. Even better, a video conferencing app like Zoom or Skype can allow you to see your family face to face at any time. Consider creating a schedule for when you will have your video calls each day to keep that sense of normalcy, on top of being intentional about online parties to celebrate birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and more.
The decision to become an expat is a major one indeed, but if you have your heart set on it, you can make it happen. Put some serious thought into the tips and considerations discussed here, and you will drastically improve your chances for success.