Things You Wouldn't Think To Do Before Moving Abroad
Before I moved to London last year, I thought I had everything ready to go, and in essence I did. I done at the research, unlocked my phone, made sure I had a place to live, etc. But there were some things I hadn't anticipated due to their nature. Here's my slightly depressing survival guide to becoming an expat.
Don't be in love
I made the mistake of moving to London while still in love with my boyfriend. This ruined a lot of my time abroad. I spent many days pining over him and not allowing myself to enjoy life. It's hard sometimes for us wanderlusters because we yearn to see the world, but it does mean that we're taken away from our loved ones. The only way around this is to have your loved ones join you, but that's not always possible. And in this case, while he did visit for for an extended amount of time, I was left with the rest of the time being miserable and counting down the days until I could return to America. Perhaps some people are not as feelings-inclined as myself, but it truly helps to be completely unattached when you become an expat or else you'll have a hell of a time wasting thoughts and energy on whoever is left behind.
Get your ish together
I read every damn article I could to get me prepared to move to the UK. I thought everything was under control, but it wasn't. You can read every how-to guide in the world on how to be an expat, but something will still go wrong. This is why it's important to have your shit together before you go, just in case when you arrive it all comes crashing down. I was lucky that I had 80% of my stuff figured out when I got there, but opening a bank account, financial aid, Oyster card and other things made my first month pretty complicated. I had some friends who had to stay in hostels for weeks before they found a place to live. While there's no real way to avoid all this, my only tip is to make sure you have everything set up that you can, and then have a very large sum of money on retainer for emergencies (or have parents who you cry to who will send you money because their baby is so far away and they just want them to be safe).
Have a backup plan
I wanted to stay in London forever, but halfway through the year, it was announced that the government was going to make it really hard for international students to stay past their graduation. Well, this what not what I had planned. I thought I could get a work visa and stay, but it became clear that there was a high likelihood that my application would get declined and that I would have to move back to America. I had already given away all my stuff in America and hadn't planned on coming back. I needed to figure out what to do now. I should've went over with a plan rather than made up one on the spot in January. My idealistic nature thought that nothing could stop me from becoming a legal worker in London, but the government did not. Go abroad with a plan for if they kick you out, because with strong restrictions right now, it's very likely.
Research your options
I chose my university because of its location. This was a mistake. The program turned out to not be the best and I was left attending classes that I wasn't passionate about. Being in London was so worth it, but I would've rather attended a better school that gave me more inspiration and push to become a better writer. I'm sure people who have moved across the world, whether it's for school or a job have only done the minimal research in terms of options. I wish I had dug deeper to find out if the program would be a better fit for me. If you get a job abroad, make sure they're worth the move. Email people who work or study there and get a bigger picture of life at that institute or workplace. It's easy to blindly take an offer, but could end up being different than expected.