Living & Working in Europe

So you’ve found a job abroad and you can’t wait to start your life in a new country, but there are some things you need to think about before you leave.

VISAS

Some countries require you to have a working visa, now if you are within the EU, then most countries within Europe will allow you to live and work there without one, all you’ll need to do is pay your taxes, social security and follow the countries ‘working tourist’ rules. However, it’s always important to check this so you don’t get caught out, especially if you are from The UK with the new Brexit laws.

Another thing to consider is making sure you use the correct website for your visa, you don’t want to get a visa and then later find out it’s not valid as it’s not from a reputable website or it’s a fake one.

ACCOMODATION

This is more of an each to their own thing, but I always make sure I have at least my first two weeks to a month’s worth of accommodation sorted when I move abroad. It’s a key factor, especially if you’re starting your new job pretty much straight away, you might not have time to search for a place to live at first. So sourcing this before you move will relieve a bit of stress.

MONEY

Always always make sure you have enough money, moving abroad is a costly thing and the first few months with bills, accommodation, food shopping, transport, no income from work for the first month etc. It can be a challenging time. You need to think about how you’re going to support yourself in those first few months. I always have a savings account, so I am able to access it whenever I need. This is something well worth considering. Also having some spare money tucked away somewhere in case you need some emergency funds.

Also if you’re working abroad, be sure to find out about pension schemes, they might be something you have to set up yourself and you don’t want to find this out 5 years down the line, having been paying nothing into a pension scheme as you thought your job provided it for you.

THE LANGUAGE BARRIER

The one thing we all dread when we go away, we learn a few phrases to get by on holiday, but when you move somewhere you need to know the lingo. Most countries will have a basic knowledge of English, and if you’re like me and you moved abroad to teach English you’ll be lucky that the language barrier might not be such an issue. Scrub up on the country’s language, use apps like Duolingo and Busuu to learn more than just the basics, try and find some meetups, where you can meet new people and practice the language (Facebook and other social media sites are a really good tool for this). When you go into a local restaurant, always try and order in the language and if you’re not sure how to pronounce, then ask someone. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help if you are seen to be making an effort. After all if you’re going to live in a foreign country then you need to embrace all of the country.

HEALTHCARE

If you are like me and are fortunate enough to live in a county that gives you free healthcare, then you might not think that other countries are different. Hold up … you’re wrong. A lot of countries don’t provide free healthcare, or if they do the places where you can get it is limited. Do you research on this prior to moving abroad. Find out if you can use an EHIC card or if you need to apply for healthcare within your new country. Even places like pharmacies and seeing doctors can cost you an arm and a leg. I found this out the hard way. Usually you’ll be able to find out information about this on the government website.

DOCUMENTS

Photocopy all your personal documents, do it a couple of times. Leave some in your home country with someone you trust, i.e parents or family members and have a couple of copies with you. For any reason you lose your documents, it isn’t as easy to get a replacement when you aren’t in your home country, as you need to go to the embassy and in some countries the process isn’t that fast. So it’s always best to have some copies with you. This is something I do when I travel in general as well as when I have moved abroad.

Moving abroad is an amazing thing, some people think you’re completely mad or totally brave to do it, but if you get the chance you should absolutely take it and enjoy it for what it is. Let me know if these tips help in the comments below.

 

*Please bear in mind this was written pre Brexit, so some of these details may be slightly different or outdated.

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