Here’s our list of things to do before relocating overseas for a new teaching opportunity.
You’ve found that amazing teaching opportunity overseas. You’ve made all the tough decisions, found the best job opportunity and the best city/country for you and your family, but most of all, you made the decision to take the leap and go for it! So, what now? Below is a guide of some of the things to do before relocating overseas as you get ready for the big move. This is not a complete list by any means and we’ve tried to keep it general because so many things can change depending on your home country, where you are planning to move, your family situation and the support offered or not offered by your new employer…
See your doctor: Get a full physical from a medical profession you know and trust. It may be sometime before you see your family doctor again and he/she knows you and your medical history better than a new doctor in a new country will. You also have to consider the quality and access to medical care in the country you are relocating to. If you are due to have some tests or simply want peace of mind before leaving, get things checked out now. Consider going to your dentist for one last cleaning and check-up and update your glasses / contact prescription.
Fill up on all our prescriptions, they may be difficult to buy wherever you are going. Ask your doctor to write you a letter outlining all the medication you regularly take. You may have to use this at customs to justify the medications you are importing. Also, you may have to show this to your new doctor to help convince them to write you a new prescription for the same medication or something similar. Be sure to check the medication import laws in your new destination to ensure you can legally bring certain medication into the country. If possible, enquire if your medication is available there. If you have disposable contact lenses, load up as you may struggle to find a similar product where you are going.
You may want to arrange with the post office to forward your mail to your new address or a designated friend or family member. Remember that all mail will be very slow in reaching you in this case. Try to reduce the amount of mail you receive, cancel memberships and newsletters and go paperless for bill payments and statements. Get someone to collect your mail while you are away; no matter how diligent you are to forward your mail or move to paperless, some mail will still go to your old address.
Make copies of important documents, certifications and banking details. Give copies of these documents (passport, visa cards, birth certs…) to a trusted friend. Some people like to take photos of these important documents for quick and easy reference from their phone or the ‘cloud’. It seems these days that your digital data isn’t as safe as a shoe box at the bottom of your closet, but that is an option to ensure easy access if needed.
Have a new passport issued or add pages to your existing one before you leave. Travelling overseas and the likelihood of an increased number of holidays can result in filling up your passport pages faster than you have in the past.
Inform your bank, mortgage company and insurance company that you are leaving the country. The change of status for you and your residence if you own (vacant or rented) will need to be communicated to these types of entities. Whether renting or leaving it vacant most insurance companies will require that you hire or assign a property manager who will check in on things from time to time. You will need to also inform your tax authority in regards to your change of situation. Get good financial advice from an international accountant and/or lawyer on what is the best course of action for you and your family with regards of what to do when relocating overseas.
Arrange to vote online or designate a proxy to do so on your behalf. You will likely be away for local or national elections but you’ll still want to be able to cast your vote.
Get your children ready and excited about this new adventure. Let them feel like they are taking part in the preparation. Give them specific tasks they can be responsible for in the lead up to your departure that are suitable to their age and interest level. Spend time talking and learning about your new destination, culture and language (teach them a few basic words to build their confidence). Get them excited about specific aspects of their new home, be it a holiday to look forward to, activities they can participate in, their new school… If you can, contact their new school and see if they offer any pre-arrival support or pre-enrolment program they can participate in.
Get some travel and health insurance to cover you in the first 3 months of your trip. Insurance for flights in case of cancellation. Insurance for baggage that is being shipped on its own. The insurance provided by your new employer might only activate upon arrival in country and may even take weeks or months to activate. Cover yourself just to be safe.
Have a going away party! And be sure to invite friends and family to visit you while you are away. You’ll be surprised how many people will take you up on it.
Did we miss anything? I’m sure we did. I invite you to contribute ideas for this blog posting by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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