Expat Advice

7 Things I wish I’d Known Before I Moved Abroad

It’s ironic really, my blog’s name is My Life Living Abroad but I’ve never actually written a post about how I moved abroad and more specifically, how on earth I managed to get all my stuff over here! It was a bit of a logistical nightmare at the time and even now, almost 8 years later, I still have bits and pieces at my parents house that I always say I’ll bring back next time. There are so many things that I wish I had known back then, things that would have helped make the move a lot smoother.

So let me share those 7 things with you in the hope that your move will be easier than mine!

1. There are trustworthy, reliable companies that can help with your move abroad!

I wish I had known more about moving companies that help with international removals to France. I recently discovered Matthew James Removals & Storage, an award winning company that provides international removals to France and elsewhere across Europe. They offer weekly services to France, have bilingual staff and they offer the best door-to-door service. On top of that, they also have storage facilities in Paris and Cannes so you can even store your belongings while you’re moving in or out! I would highly recommend them, so be sure to check them out if you are moving abroad.

2. You will need all your important documents, so take them with you

You might not even think about it because in your home country you rarely need your birth certificate, your university diploma or your driving license papers but in your new home you just might. Take these documents with you and it will save you time and money when dealing with bureaucratic and administrative issues.

3. You will need to try to learn some local slang before you arrive

The French I learnt at school before I moved here has obviously helped me to speak to people but it was surprisingly limited. I quickly discovered that no one really said “Comment allez-vous ?” (How are you in formal dialogue) and that people were more inclined to say simply ça va?” (How are you informally) Or “Vous allez bien?” (Are you doing well?). Brushing up on need to know phrases in the language of your new home will make your life much easier when you arrive.

See my articles on the French you don’t learn at school

Image result for french slang

4. Being able to speak to your family and friends will be vital while abroad

This sounds obvious but in the first few weeks you might not have WiFi or a working phone so make sure you look up mobile plans before you arrive and figure out if your new place has WiFi or if you need to organise it getting installed. You will need your family and friends more than ever in those first few weeks so make sure you can reach them easily (and without running up a huge bill)!

5. Joining Meet Up Groups will help you make new friends

Making new friends is hard, especially if you’re moving to a new city. Check out the meet up groups online and on Facebook and Instagram to find out what events are going on (see a few examples below). Then, if you’re brave enough, try to find people on Instagram that share the same hobbies as you and who already live where you’re moving to. Message them and see if you can strike up a friendship. This has actually happened to me a lot of times and it’s a great way of meeting people who share your interests.

Meet Up Group Paris

Social Girls Paris Facebook Page

6. Find out where the bargain shops are before you arrive

I arrived in Paris thinking I would get everything from IKEA. I was wrong. IKEA is miles and miles from Paris and delivery is very expensive so it’s not an easy nor wallet friendly option. Find out where your bargain buys are before you go, that way you’ll know where to buy those everyday items that are vital to making your new house (or 30 meter squared studio), a home.

7. You have to take risks to succeed

I’m obviously not talking about life threatening risks in my final point of this blog, but I am talking about taking chances. There are a lot of occasions where you’ll feel outside of your comfort zone when you move abroad. Surrounded by new people, a new language and new rules, you may sometimes feel overwhelmed and debate becoming a recluse in your tiny apartment. BUT, this is exactly what you should not do.

Moving abroad is your chance to experience something new and exciting and although it might seem daunting you have to take risks! Why? Because it’s the only way you’ll really ever move your heart abroad.



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