The time has finally come, you have decided to start working abroad. You will become an expat. On the one hand, you're looking forward to this great opportunity, but on the other, there are still many things you need to arrange. Our recruiter Cune shares her top 7 tips for expats.
1. Visit your new hometown before you move
Imagine moving to a new country only to find that it is not at all what you expected. Therefore, prepare yourself as well as possible. You can do this, for example, by familiarizing yourself with the cultural differences beforehand. If at all possible, pay a visit to the country, and preferably also to the place where you intend to move to. Spend a few days on-site, familiarize yourself with the local facilities and amenities and visit the neighborhoods where you would like to live. You can even make an appointment with an estate agent so that you can view several properties straight away. Good preparation is half the battle.
2. Find out about the cost of living
Again, make sure you know what to expect before you move. What about rent prices, energy costs and taxes, for example? And what schemes might you be eligible for? So first find out how this is regulated in your situation, so you are not faced with any surprises.
3. Get a Dutch bank account
One of the first things you want to arrange is a bank account. This requires some formalities, so make sure you have enough cash and/or a credit card or access to the bank in your country of origin. That way, you will not run out of money in the first few days.
4. Learn the language
This may seem obvious, but it is often underestimated. Although English is often spoken well in the business world, it is sometimes a lot less common in other situations. Learning the language will not only enhance your experiences, but it will also actually make your life easier. Even if it's only a few words and you don't speak it perfectly.
5. Adapting to the culture and work environment
When people move to a new location, the cultural difference is often forgotten. Understanding the habits and customs of your new home and work environment is therefore very important for your professional success. Around 30% of assignments abroad fail because of cultural issues. So understanding the local culture is an essential part of your own success. Familiarize yourself with everyday issues such as the way of greeting and the dress code.
6. Prepare for a culture shock
No matter how hard you try to prepare for your new home and its culture, you are bound to experience a culture shock. Even countries that speak the same language are different. Bear in mind that cultural differences may be hard in the beginning. So give yourself time to get used to your new living environment. The feeling will pass and you will soon learn to adapt to the local cultural norms. Before you know it, you will feel completely at home!
7. Make (local) friends
It's very tempting to look up fellow countrymen and women and join expatriate clubs. There's nothing wrong with that, but also try to step out of your comfort zone. Make an effort to make friends with the locals. This way you will integrate even faster and this will make your experience even better.
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