Working Abroad – Starter Pack

It’s really easy to see yourself in another country today, working and living just like you would in your own. Besides the travel expenses being lower than they were a couple of decades ago, you can also get anywhere much faster. In addition, you can find out everything you need online through bulletin boards, forums, Quora, Reddit and other Internet resources.

Even finding a job and accommodations is not such a problem anymore. You can apply to job positions electronically and attend interviews via video call. New technologies certainly helped people connect more easily and took down physical communication barrier.

However, working abroad is still challenging for many who are about to leave their families and friends behind. Finding yourself in the unknown territory can be overwhelming for an individual and many decide to give up because of fear and uncertainty. Also, some things still need more time and require more involvement.

Therefore, here is a starter pack for those planning to work abroad with all the things you should consider during application.


  • Pack your important documents


You can’t travel without a passport which you will also use as an ID while you live abroad. However, carry your ID card and medical insurance with you at all times as well. If you have a driver’s license, see if you can validate it to drive in another country or you can acquire an international driver’s license in your country.

Check with your bank if using your credit and debit cards abroad carries additional fees. If so, see what you can do to open a bank account in that country and transfer your funds there. Some banks have partner branches all around the world, so check if yours is one of those since that will facilitate the transfers and other aspects of your financials.


  • Find out more about the local currency


Since you will have to have some money before your salary arrives, check the local currency. The exchange rate may vary so make sure you choose the best place for this transaction. It’s always good to have cash with you even though you will carry credit cards.   


  • Keep copies of your documents


It’s always a good practice to scan your documents and keep them thumb drive or cloud. In case you lose your documents, you can use the scanned ones to confirm your identity or access your bank account. Just to be safe, keep several copies you can easily access whenever it’s necessary, even when there is no Internet connection.


  • Apply for a health card


Applying for health card is advisable especially if you have a chronic condition. Every country has its own regulations about selling medicine and health insurance. Before you move, bring enough medicine to cover you for the first month or two until you get the hang of the new healthcare system. In the end, you can always go to the ER in case of an emergency or any private practice available in your area.


  • Work visa


Depending on the country you are going to, you may have to acquire a work visa. Before you apply to a job ad in another country, take a look at their immigration policy and collect all the necessary documents. On the other hand, some countries have programs which help foreigners get their work visa more easily and are even pretty lenient toward some professions like medical workers.

For example, acquiring an Australian work visa is not as hard as it is in Switzerland since the country has a very approachable immigration policy. This doesn’t mean that it will be simple, but only easier, although immigration laws in every country are complex and may need a legal professional to understand them better.    


  • Find accommodation


There are several ways you can find accommodation. You can look for the ads online and arrange everything that way. Alternatively, you can rent a hotel/hostel room for a while until you search for an accommodation right on the spot.  It’s best to choose the option that is the most comfortable for you.

If your family is moving with you, then it’s definitely easier if accommodation is already waiting for you. Consider hiring a real estate agent to find you what you’re looking for and make sure that everything is alright with the property. Be sure to give them information on everything you will need from your new accommodation and that you have enough money to leave for the deposit.


  • Find out more about the local customs and laws


Find out as much as possible about the customs and laws in the country you are moving to. It may not appear so right away, but there might be some rules that are quite different from the ones at home. Not respecting some may even be understood as disrespect, especially if you go to the countries which still respect traditional values like Japan or Saudi Arabia.


  • Bring your favorite things


Moving for work means that you’ll be away from home for a while. That is why it’s a good idea to bring something from home that will help you get through the transition easier. You can even move pieces of furniture if you are willing to spend some money and organize the transportation. It might take a while for anything so big to arrive at your new place, but you will at least have a piece of home with you.


  • Buy a local phone number


Using your phone number abroad is going to be expensive, so buy a new one that also has the best plan for international calls. Although you can communicate with family and friends back home via various chat and social media platforms, a good old fashion call is irreplaceable. Also, you will have to make phone calls locally, so check out the offer and prices for local calling plans as well.


  • Look for a city map


Since you will have to go to work from home, see what options you have. It might be a great idea to walk to work in the beginning if you can and see as much of the city as you can. However, if you don’t live that close to work, check the public transportation, just to make sure you are ready for the first day at work.  

Final words

There is a lot more to plan when moving and working abroad, but these are some essential things on our starter pack that people easily forget. Make sure you find out everything you can about your destination, including the smallest things about customs and food. In time, you will get used to your new country and maybe even call it home.


In this article

Join the Conversation