Tips on Living Internationally

Trekking across the globe with a backpack is a dream of many college students, but what happens when those international dreams become a reality?

Trekking across the globe with a backpack is a dream of many college students, but what happens when those international dreams become the reality in the form of a new and exciting opportunity in a burgeoning economy like South America or Asia? With an established family and lifestyle, the romantic notion of picking up and tossing all belongings into a rucksack is not a viable option. There is time and care required to make certain an international move is successful.

International food can be hard on kids or adults with limited palates. So, before you get to your destination, expand your palate!

European cuisine is mostly familiar and accessible, but moving into less familiar Asian or Latin cuisines makes for a difficult switch. American cuisine, especially fast food chains, permeate every corner of the globe so there will be familiar options. Bear in mind franchises build these menus to suit locale palates and all menus are dependent on available ingredients. There will still be challenges to overcome. Some business men travel with jars of peanut butter or other easy protein to get through their business trips amongst exotic cuisine–similarly, it might be a good idea to take a few staples overseas to aid in the transition. Also feel free to ask American friends send occasional care packages with old favorites. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous though. Food is culture, and learning to appreciate and enjoy the variety of local available foods goes a long way toward acclimating to a new environment. After time, don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving your new country’s cuisine on visits back west.

Pets are members of the family, but depending on the transition period and the anticipated length of time living overseas it might be abetter option to find your pet a caring American home to move to instead of making the overseas trip. Research is key. Some foreign countries only require microchipping and vaccination, while other countries impose difficult and lengthy quarantines for pets. Also bear in mind the climate of the country you are moving to, as an average tropical temperature might be inappropriate for a heavy-coated, northern breed like a St. Bernard but perfectly suited to your shivering Chihuahua. Also worth noting, keep in mind the accessibility of things like suitable pet food and medicine. If the breed of your dog or cat is foreign to the country, finding appropriate care for your pet might become an ordeal.

Finding lodging presents its own set of challenges, however if you are moving for business often your company will have established residences or a network of resources for relocating employees. Often these residences are furnished, and so you may opt to sell your American furniture or keep it in storage for the term of your employment in the foreign country. If your stay in a country is prolonged or indefinite, you may decide to rent or purchase your own home. Then you must decide whether to move your creature comforts overseas or start with a blank slate.  There are many international moving companies available to relieve the burden of moving overseas, if there are items you are not able to part with.  Companies typically assist with these moving costs, and having some of the physical comforts of home can be reassuring especially in the first few weeks in a new country. However keep in mind that most electronics are not internationally compatible, and space may be at a premium depending on the area you are moving to. In other words, it might be best to leave the 62″ plasma at home.

Living and working internationally is an adventure that many dream of, take time to enjoy the experience. Be sure to research the ins and out of the country you are moving to, so there are no surprises when you arrive on its doorstep.  The flavors, sounds, and experience will surprise enough.

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