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Moving Abroad & Becoming an Expat

By May 17, 2016April 20th, 2017Travel + Culture

moving-abroad-expat-life

In 2012, I set sail, well not really sail, to unknown lands in the Middle East. For quite some time, I’d toyed with the idea and entertained conversations about moving abroad but didn’t really know how to put an anchor to it. It was not until I had a casual conversation with a temporary employee that put things in motion. During our conversation, she told me about a recruitment company that assists with educational job placement throughout the world. As we were chatting, I hopped onto their website, breezed through the application, and submitted the short application. The website seemed legitimate, didn’t ask for personal information or fees, so I was pretty much good to go. The auto reply, from the short application, stated that those shortlisted would be contacted; I was shortlisted and contacted.

From there, I completed a longer application, phone interview, in-person interview (on my dime), waited for notice, approved, accepted, then off to Abu Dhabi. In short, that was the gist of it with a few intimate steps in between that included getting documents and degrees notarized, an FBI check, and those previously mentioned documents authenticated by the US Department of State and then attested by the UAE consulate.

Sounds official and cumbersome right?

It was, but I used a service, with a fee but it was absolutely worth negating the hassle of me going here and there for this and that stamp. I just did not want to do that.

….fast forward,

documents done, initial contact signed, preliminaries taken care of, and then I was off to Abu Dhabi.

Abu-Dhabi-Reem-Island

Moving abroad and becoming an expat has been one of the greatest experiences. It has given me opportunities to engage with people and their cultures from around the globe, I’ve traveled more extensively, gained greater understandings and appreciation for Middle Eastern cultures, and most importantly, I have an active understand of the term patience. You’ll need lots of patience as an expat.

If you’re considering moving abroad because the expat life intrigues you; the following tips will get your journey started.

  1. Identify where you would like to live.
  2. Locate recruitment companies for your field that service the area of choice.
  3. Send direct inquires to specific companies.
  4. Apply for a passport if you have not already

With the assumption that your interviews were successful, now

  1. Begin packing and find a temperature controlled storage facility
  2. Sort out mail options: forwarding, PO Box, mail services
  3. Notify your bank of about your move
  4. Pack two months essentials for your journey
  5. Have your mobile phone unlocked

In your new home

  1. Observe, observe, observe
  2. Make acquaintances including local connections for easier navigation and translation if needed
  3. Take local tours of your city
  4. Set up comforts in your new home

Overall, take it all in, discard what’s not beneficial, you’re there to influence not change a culture, travel, and enjoy.

For more information, download my free Expat Guide here.

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