Seeing a country through a tourist’s eyes and visiting it as someone who’s considering moving there are completely different experiences. If you’ve holidayed in a country a few times and are thinking seriously about moving there, it’s time to revisit it – and not as a tourist.
Before you visit, it’s time to prepare for some serious data collection. The first matter to take care of is the cost of daily life. Let’s look at Dubai as an example. Numbeo can be a great help with this, detailing plenty of aspects for life in Dubai, from the cost of a cappuccino (AED 17.96) to the price of a pair of jeans (Levi 501s: AED 225.92).
However, Numbeo’s data is based on averages across the location in question. It’s unlikely that you’re going to move to a part of that country or city where prices exactly match those averages. As such, it’s time to drill down into your area. On your visit, take note of everything from the prices of groceries to the cost of fuel. Think about the products that you consume as part of your current life and map the costs of those in your target country. The exercise will give you a realistic picture of how much your new life is likely to set you back.
Think about accommodation
Forget fancy hotels with pools or spacious Airbnb lets. If you’re serious about moving to a new country, you need to know what the cost of living there fulltime will be. Your rent is likely to be your most expensive outgoing each month, so find out what prices are in the area of the city that you’ve got your eye on.
You can start researching this before you arrive, using a property portal such as Bayut to hone in on particular areas. In Downton Dubai, for example, a two-bedroom apartment can cost anything from AED 12,999 per month to AED 27,098 per month. Narrow down your search criteria before you visit, then meet with local property agents when you arrive. Not only can they provide tours of potential homes, but they can also be invaluable sources of information about the area(s) you are considering.
Speak the language
If you think your language skills are passable based on interactions with waiters and bar staff, it’s time to think again. Clozemaster reports that it can take months – if not years – of dedicated study in order to become conversationally competent. Fluency usually requires total immersion.
If your tourist experiences have convinced you that you will be able to get by with the language skills you’ve already picked up, head to the nearest phone shop and discuss how mobile phone and internet contracts work. It’s a task that you’ll most likely have to complete almost as soon as you emigrate, so should provide an excellent reality check in terms of your linguistic capabilities.
Talking to those who live in your chosen country as much as possible is an essential part of visiting it as a potential immigrant, rather than a tourist. Language-learning can be fun, so challenge yourself and don’t be disheartened. You will make mistakes, but these will help to guide your approach to further learning before you take the plunge and move.
Of course, there are plenty of other tasks that you’ll have to complete before you emigrate and during the early days of your new life, from filling out official paperwork to arranging healthcare. Many will be fun, others less so. Just be sure to enjoy the rollercoaster as much as you can!