When you head abroad to work, you can sometimes get so carried away with the planning of where to live and how you will earn money that you forget about the real reason you wanted to go away in the first place: to experience a new country.
Going abroad to live and work for a few months or longer is a fantastic experience. It is an opportunity for you to explore a new culture and discover fascinating new places. You chose your destination for a reason, so don’t forget to explore it during your time there.
Take Time to Settle
It takes time to settle into anywhere new, not least when it is another country. When you first arrive in your new country, you should plan to give yourself some time to acclimatise.
Once you have arranged your accommodation, make sure you have some time to relax when you first arrive. It may be a good idea to save some money for this first week or so, so that when you arrive you won’t have to start working immediately.
Explore Your Surroundings
When you arrive, go for a walk and explore your new neighbourhood. Go out for a meal, get to know your surroundings, see the sights and take some time out to enjoy your new temporary home.
You may want to use this time to make contact with the expat community. You can also find resources online and sometimes in local newspapers, such as clubs run for new arrivals or foreign residents, and this could help to ease your transition into your new environment.
Explore Further Afield
But don’t stop at your immediate surroundings: there is a whole new country to explore, so try to arrange your work so that you have some time off, at least at weekends, to go exploring.
After all, what is the point of going to a new country and then spending all day inside working?
You might even want to plan trips to other countries in the region. However, if you do this then be careful about your visa requirements. Some countries are more strict than others, and you may not be able to renew your visa so easily once you have left the country.
Planning beforehand will help you to get more from your time away. Websites such as TripAdvisor can provide you with some good information on your destination. Alternatively, head to a search engine and type in keywords such as ‘things to do in destination’ and see what you can find.
If you are heading to a country for a shorter amount of time then you may want to plan your trips in advance to make sure you are making the best use of your time. However, if you are going for longer, you can plan things when you arrive as you will not be so pressed for time.
Also research the travel situation within your new country before you go away. What are internal flights and trains like? What about car rentals? Might it even be worth buying your own second-hand car for the time you are there?
Find out all of this in advance so that you can budget for your trip effectively.
The Beauty of Remote Working
Working remotely allows you to plan your schedule, which in turn allows you to free up the time you need to explore your surroundings. The time difference may even work in your favour because you may choose to work early mornings and then have the afternoons off, or vice versa.
Can you afford to take a day off each week, or at least at the weekends? If you are just starting out freelancing then you may end up having too much work to carry out to allow you to enjoy some time off, so be careful about the amount of work you take on.
Enjoy Your New Location
Work out a plan that allows you to spend lots of time exploring your new location. You don’t want to get back home only to realise that you missed out. Of course you have to work, but if you are going to be spending all of your time working then ask yourself why you are really going in the first place.
Plan your trip carefully, make sure you have time to explore your new surroundings, and you’ll know that when you return home you made the most of your time abroad.
Have you signed up as a member of LWA yet? Amongst our growing FREE member resources, we recommended our favourite resources for starting a new life abroad.