Are you about to move abroad and feeling a little overwhelmed? I’ve been in the same boat! Living and teaching overseas for the first time is an exciting but daunting experience. There are so many things to consider, so we’ve compiled a list of the Top 6 things to do before going overseas:
1. Do your reading. Arriving in a new country, ready to explore and open to anything that might come your way, can be an amazing experience. You have no idea what adventures are waiting for you! Realistically, though, most people will want to prepare for their travels, especially if they are moving to a country for a year or more. Research by using travel books, online travel blogs, and maps to help you get ready to depart. You’ll want at least a basic familiarity with the country’s culture and services – not to mention, it’s a great way to get excited and put yourself in a travel mindset!
2. Keep everyone in the loop. Make sure you contact your bank to let them know you will be using your cards in another country. If you are traveling overseas for an extended period of time, you’ll want to consider getting your mail re-directed, or changing to electronic copies to ensure you keep up-to-date with mail from home.
3. Get your health check. Traveling can be physically demanding, so a visit to your doctor is a great idea to ensure that you’re in good health before setting off. If you’re moving abroad to teach, a health check is usually required before you can obtain a visa. You might also need to determine if your new destination requires any vaccinations prior to arrival. And if you need to travel with medication, you’ll need to check as to whether you can bring your medication into your destination country. Will you be able to purchase it there if needed? Embassy websites will usually have useful links where you can find out what’s permitted to bring, and what’s available in the country.
4. Copy your documents. It’s always wise to make both printed and electronic copies of your essential documents. Have a list of essential travel documents to keep in your carry-on, and make sure to leave a copy with family members at home in case of emergency. · Your passport · Airline tickets · Emergency contact numbers · Travel itinerary · Birth Certificate · Driver’s Licence · Vaccination and Relevant Health Records · Marriage Licence (if applicable) Teachers should also make copies of professional documents: · Resume · Teaching certifications · Degrees · Reference letters. Even if your employment is already organized prior to your departure, you never know when copies of these documents might come in handy. Keep your important information at easy reach by emailing electronic copies to your account, or having them on a USB.
5. Stay in touch. You’ll want to make sure that your loved ones can contact you while you are traveling abroad, and vice versa. Share your travel experiences with everyone, and keep in touch with what is happening at home. You can set up a free Skype account, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
6. Enjoy! Enjoy the trip and be grateful for all experiences, even the ones you struggle with at the time. I can’t say it better than Eleanor Roosevelt: “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”