By Zulu Kanwai
Moving can be both exhilarating and terrifying. You are leaving behind everyone and everything you love to start a new adventure. It is the perfect opportunity to go off and explore the world, make new friends and boost your confidence. If you are a woman moving abroad whether done with a family/partner/alone it is important to consider the things you should do and not do to keep yourself safe in a new environment and also to make the relocation process as smooth as possible.
Here are five things that women should consider when relocating to a new country.
1. Consider The Country
Whether you are relocating to a new country alone or with a partner/family it is important that you conduct a thorough research on the country that you want to relocate to. Choose a country that will provide you with all the things that you will need to create happiness and joy. You may also want to consider the weather, food, housing, cost of living, and educational opportunities for yourself or any children you may have.
2. Culture and Traditions
Be aware of the culture and traditions of the country you are moving to. This is extremely important. Take into account things like gender roles, local norms, dressing etc. You do not want to move to the country of your dreams and be culture shocked by their customs and traditions. It is also worth knowing some of the religious practices in that country. For example, some societies frown upon unmarried couples living together and this may cause problems for you especially if you are living with your partner. Some societies may not have laws in place that are favorable for women like maternity leave, job opportunities, etc. Furthermore, networking with other expats who live in the country you want to move to can give you more insights about the culture and traditions of the country you are planning on relocating to. However, it is important that you try to remain open-minded and show interest in learning about the cultural traditions and norms of the country you will be calling home.
3. Learn the Language
Although English is the universal language of communication around the world, not everyone knows how to speak English. Knowing the language of the country you plan to relocate to, simplifies things for you especially if you are moving there as a single woman. Not knowing any language of the country you plan on relocating to makes it difficult for you to communicate and interact with the locals. You do not have to be fluent in the language of the country, but knowing the basics can go a long way in helping you interact better with the locals. There are lots of free foreign language apps on google play and apple store like Busuu, Duolingo, Baabel and Mindshack. Theses apps can help you learn the local lingo at your own pace.
As women we are constantly told how unsafe it is for us to travel/relocate to a new country on our own. You need to remember that majority of the cities across the world are safe to live in. However, it is important that you take precautionary steps when relocating to a new country solo. For example, know where you are going before you set out and research the safety of the area. Use licensed taxis especially if going out alone. Take the advice of locals and new friends as to which forms of transportation are the safest. Keep in regular contact with your family and friends back home and keep them updated with where you are going and who you are socializing with, this is extremely important especially in the first few months of moving to a new country. In addition, you can make friends with women in your new home country so they can help you navigate any safety issues.
It is important to consider the job market of the country you want to relocate to. Take a look at the market for your skill. Perhaps when you get to the new country you might have to get a temporary job before finding the job that best fit your skills. You do not want to go to a country that will be difficult to get a well-paying job. You need to consider whether you might need a work permit to be able to work in that country. Furthermore, one thing to bear in mind is if the work environment is favorable to women. Are there many opportunities for career progression, equal salary pay, benefits, and career development? For women who are digital nomads, are there available co-working spaces? Any incentives available for digital nomads in that the country? There are some countries that have introduced visas for digital nomads and these visas come with benefits that can be beneficial to digital nomads relocating to a new country. What’s the work life- balance in the country you are planning on relocating to? If having a work-life balance is very important to you, you need to consider countries that offer that. Conducting thorough research on the job market of the country you plan on relocating to is vital.
Thus, “part of a successful relocation is embracing all the new experiences that come your way”-Covino Smith. By opening up your mind to the adventurous experience of being an expat, you will be enriched with amazing experiences that you will cherish for the rest of your life.