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Global Nomads

9 Questions To Ask Before You Become An Expat

9 Important Questions To Ask Before You Become An Expat

Planning to kick-start your journey as an expatriate? Still confused about deciding to settle abroad? Moving to a foreign country on a short-term or long-term basis is in no way an easy choice to make. Your international assignment is a big step in your career, life or even retirement. You may even be going abroad for a few years for extended travel. To make the most of your days on foreign soil, asking yourself a few questions will certainly help. Here are 9 questions to ask before you become an expat living abroad, or even if you have already moved offshore to your dream destination:

1. Where do you want to move to?

Similar to purchasing property, location is a major factor when you are planning to move abroad. Your research about a particular place should help you ascertain whether your expectations as an expat are reasonable. Check out various expat guides online or read what the expats have to say about a particular destination in the bulletin boards. Embracing a career opportunity in a place that doesn’t suit your lifestyle or health may pose several challenges during your stay there.

2. What is motivating you to go abroad?

Some of the reasons why you are motivated to move abroad may include career and financial growth, better lifestyle, lower cost of living, suitable weather, etc. As an expat, you would be investing a lot of time and money, so make sure that you get good returns on all your efforts.

Leaving Abroad

3. Can you communicate in the local language?

If you can’t speak in the local language, learning a few key phrases to at least exchange pleasantries in first-time interactions before you reach your destination can be helpful. After arriving, you can go the whole hog for language classes. Imagine mingling with the locals by speaking their native language. You will surely feel accepted in a new location which you can call your second home once you learn that language well enough.

4. What will be your tax liabilities when living abroad?

Knowing the accurate taxation policies of your expat destination will help you to be better prepared to manage your finances. For instance, a professional in Japan have to pay up to 45% of his salary as tax. Taxation policies may vary from country to country. However, US citizens will have to pay tax no matter where they live and work. It is important to talk to an expat tax advisor if you are moving abroad to discuss your global tax requirements.

Health Insurance

5. Did you purchase International Health Insurance?

OK, we are a bit biased when it comes to the importance of international health insurance. We can’t overstate how critical it is to get global healthcare if you are living abroad. The news and internet are littered with stories about people who moved or traveling abroad without health coverage and were stuck with large medical expenses.

6. Are you capable of handling any emergency, including a sudden move back home?

Your stay abroad should be planned carefully and wisely. Having sufficient money during your overseas visit will help you enjoy a hassle-free time in a foreign country. You can leave some cash in your native place and use it as a financial lifeline to fall back on if required. You can also rent or lease out your property until you are sure about settling abroad forever.

7. How do you motivate your partner and/or children to migrate?

Living life as an expat may be exciting and fruitful for you. However, your family members may not share the same enthusiasm and be motivated enough to relocate. Let them know the positives of being an expat and help them strike a rapport with diverse communities that suit their interests. Learn more about expat kids.

8. Are local healthcare services reliable or do you need private insurance?

Many countries offer excellent healthcare to expatriates, while others offer nothing at all. You would need international health insurance to ensure that you are fit and healthy in a foreign land. Check out the cost of obtaining a new global health insurance plan and see whether it is affordable after your new salary package.

9. How will you deal with common obstacles to moving abroad?

There can be many obstacles in your path of being a global nomad. Obvious obstacles include money crunch, work permits, visa, certifications, etc. The hurdles may seem tough to overcome, but proper planning will help you handle every challenging situation. Reach out to people who you feel can bail you out of difficult times.

Next Steps for Expats

After going through these 9 Questions to ask before you become an expat and if you have convincing answers to the questions above, you can plan a nomadic lifestyle in your dream destination. Expat life may not be glamorous for everyone. However, basic steps like going for international health insurance may ensure a happy expat life. Expat Financial can help you make your experience memorable as an expat.

Learning New Language

Five Tips for Learning a New Language If Living Abroad

5 Tips for Learning a New Language If Moving or Already Living Abroad

Moving to a brand-new country is never easy. Learning a new language can take years. And moving to a brand-new country while attempting to learn a new language can be downright daunting.

For an expat in a non-English speaking country, the question simply becomes: how can I learn the local language fast? While there is no magic pill to learn a new language overnight, there are ways to pick up a language quickly. While this task of learning a foreign language may seem huge, there are ways to make your life a bit smoother – here are five tips to learning a new language, while living abroad:

  1. Understand that learning a new language is difficult!

    There are multiple ways of learning a new language and not every way will work for you. No one is expecting you to learn a brand-new language perfectly and to be fluent speaker right away, especially if you are learning a language with many complexities like Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Korean, or Hungarian. The faster you can come to terms with this notion, the faster you can get over any anxiety and embarrassment that may come with learning a new foreign language. Relax, figure out what method works for you, practice, and enjoy the process.

  2. Immerse yourself in the language.

    Pay attention to the street signs, the advertisements on the sides busses and on billboards, read food labels when grocery shopping; all of this helps (especially when learning a new language alphabet). Celebrate your wins when you recognize what the words or phrases mean. Try ordering your daily cup of coffee at your neighborhood cafe in the local language. Find out the keywords or phrases to get by and say pleasantries like please, thank you, may I, sorry, etc. and use them on a daily basis. They will become automatic and make you more confident.

  3. Self-study.

    If you like to learn on your own there are many books out there on learning new languages. You can check out local books stores in your new country, many of which will have books on learning English or baby books. Don’t discredit these books, reversing how you view the language may be quite helpful. And there are thousands of YouTube videos, podcasts, and apps to help you self-learn – most of them free. Listen or watch videos on your daily commute or for a few hours a day when possible. Making use of technology can be a lighter and easier way of learning as many apps aim to make the learning process fun and game-like. Talk to the locals who speak English, they can help correct you and guide you. If you don’t know a local who can help, join a learning group.

  4. Join a learning group.

    This will allow you to be in a structured environment to learn the new language. You will get feedback, be sounded by others from various different countries who are trying to learn the local language and may even receive assignments to test your knowledge. Find fellow expats, but beware of slipping back into your native tongue.

  5. Get creative.

    Make flashcards, try to write up your work emails or everyday texts in English and the local language, visualize the new language rather than relying on a direct translation. Have fun with friends or family members who are trying to learn the new language, get into a habit of picking a category to talk about ex. “colours” or “foods” and say the examples in the language. Watch the news for articulation and pronunciation. If you are in a big city check out a play, visit museums, and see movies in the language you are trying to learn.

And finally, something thing you might want to consider before choosing a language learning method is what purpose are you looking to achieve by learning a foreign language? Do you need it mostly for writing? Talking? Business? Can you get by without learning too much of the local language? Learning a new language will always assist in ensuring a good quality of life and freedom within your new country. A new language will assist you should you require medical care from a facility or doctor who doesn’t speak your language. A great medical plan will also provide medical insurance support in all of the major languages. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates of any nationality across the world who are about to move abroad or already there. If you have any questions regarding international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs as an expat, please contact us or complete the quote form.

Lifestyle Abroad

How to Become A Digital Nomad Abroad

Learn How You Can Become a Digital Nomad as an Expat Abroad

For a number of reasons, people become “expatriates” (that is, people who live outside their native country), and this process of becoming an expat happens in many ways./

One of the most recent and popular ways to become an expat has materialized through a number of technological innovations, and that is to become an expat as a “digital nomad.”

What is a digital nomad?

This is a term used for a person who is “location independent,” and relies on technology to perform his or her job. The great thing about being a digital nomad is you can work virtually anywhere, allowing you to move easily between countries and regions.

How exactly do you begin to become a digital nomad?

It seems to be an appealing life, one where you can travel and work simultaneously. Imagine sitting on a beach somewhere in Thailand working on your laptop (while also working on your tan!) The thing that digital nomads have in common is that they usually spend months in a year traveling while working online. But it takes a lot of hard work to reach a point where you can both work and travel.

As a recent movement that works for many, it can be rewarding. but there’s usually some confusion about how to live this lifestyle.

We’ve put together five core things you need to do if you’re interested in becoming a digital nomad. There’s a lot of hard work involved, but these five steps will help to set you up for success.

1. Be creative.

There isn’t one blueprint that everyone can follow in order to get the digitally savvy life of independence that so many (particularly the millennial population) dream of. Everyone arrives at the digital nomad lifestyle through a unique path.

In order to find out which route to go, figuratively and literally as well as digitally, to become a digital nomad, you have to figure out where your strengths lie and come up with a creative way to make that work for you.

Are you good at graphic design? Blogging? Photography? Are you good at creating communities online through your relationship-building or networking skills? Let that work to your advantage and help leverage you on your way to becoming a digital nomad.

2. Join a digital nomad community.

There are tons of people who are doing this and have been in the same situation as you before – figuring out where to begin and how to start travelling while working online. Find these people and learn from them. Use them as resources and as peers who are like-minded. They have a wealth of information on how to start reducing your ties to your current location, where to find new homes for cheap, how to find a creative way to earn money online to fund your travels, etc.

digital nomad

3. Decide on how you’re going to earn money.

You need money to travel. Start by freelancing through your graphic design, photography, or blogging skills, or work or study abroad. These are ways to start traveling and get you on the path to becoming a digital nomad. While studying and working abroad is less risky than trying to earn your way by being a freelancer, it’s not as easy to be location-independent. It may take you longer. So weigh the pros and cons. Generally, it makes sense to secure your contracts or employment before you leave from a company that is accepting of your digital nomad existence while living abroad.

4. Figure out how you want to live.

If you’re interested in having solitude and quiet, and wish to retreat somewhere, go for it! Or if you’re a social butterfly and need to be around people to thrive, then go for that. But make sure you know what you want.

Have a look at our country and city guides to get more of an overview of regions in the world that Expat Financial provides medical coverage for.

5. Research.

This includes researching where to live, the currency, and the culture of your destination (for some areas that are more conservative, you want to dress appropriately). It makes sense to make sure you are living in an area that is safe and secure, has excellent internet coverage and speed, inexpensive housing and for some a great climate and interesting culture.

Global Insurance

6. Get international medical coverage BEFORE you become a digital nomad

International health insurance coverage is essential for anybody becoming an expat, no matter where they’re going or for how long. If you are a digital nomad, there is a good chance your employer will not provide health coverage for you or will ask you to obtain your own. In fact, most digital nomads are self-employed or working on a consulting basis, so you most likely need to obtain adequate global health coverage to cover unexpected medical expenses, evacuation, dental and more. Digital nomads can easily obtain a quote for excellent international medical insurance from our insurance partners. Our most popular global medical policy for digital nomads is the Cigna Global Health Options plan. It is vital that digital nomads obtain a high-quality plan and also discuss their needs with us if required.

Expat Financial provides international health, life, disability and travel insurance to expats (for both those who are interested in going abroad and those who are already living abroad). Contact us today to get have your questions answered and obtain a quote online.