If there is a question I get more than any, it is “how have you visited so many countries?” Or, even better, “how can you afford to travel so much?” The secret lies in making a move overseas. Once you move, you can explore your surroundings and do so at an incredibly low price. For example, we flew from Marseille, France to Stockholm, Sweden for $29 round trip! Even better, in most cases, living overseas is much more affordable than living in the US. However, you do have to think outside of the box to embark on such an adventure. As an American, I can vouch that we have a certain aversion to leaving all that is comfortable and “normal.” Also, people with kids may worry about how it will affect them and schooling as well. However, I can say with full confidence that the culture, experiences, memories, new perspectives and life lessons that I earned from making a move out of my comfort zone were absolutely priceless. Have you been thinking about making a move, but don’t know where to start? Follow along with this guide to help you get started!
The first step to making an overseas move is locking in an up to date passport. Beyond that, you want to make sure that you have at least three blank pages. You also want to make sure you have a validity of at least three years. Passports take time to renew. In order to renew your passport, you will need to send in the old one. This can take weeks. Before embarking on this journey, make sure yours is up to date. If you have good validity and need more pages, you can actually add pages. This also requires mailing it in and takes some time. So, plan ahead!
If you ask me, the single easiest way to make the move overseas is to get a job where you want to go. You can apply right here from the US just by completing a simple search online. Interviews are usually conducted online, but in some cases, they may fly you out for a face-to-face interview. Many people think of organizations such as Doctors without Borders or Teaching Abroad programs. Of course, those are awesome. However, there are many industries in which you can get a job overseas. All it takes is a bit of research. Sure, some professions will require additional licensing overseas, but that is also doable, if that is the case.
One industry I recommend trying is teaching at a university or college. Many universities around the world seek American professors who have industry experience. Websites like HigherEd Jobs are a great place to start. Many will even house you or give you a living stipend, which really helps for the rest of the family. What is your industry? Why not take a year or two to teach some classes in a place you have always dreamed of living? I should also mention that the professor schedule is amazing. When I taught in Bangladesh, I taught two classes three times a week. The rest of the time afforded me travel and exploring the area.
This is, admittedly, the worst part of making the leap to move overseas. During a post-Covid world, this is even more complicated. However, you just need to stay on top of your desired location’s rules. A good place to start is the State Department Website. From there, you can see specific requirements to enter the country you choose. Please keep in mind that a tourist visa is different from a resident visa. Usually, tourist visas are limited to 30-90 days. At the end of the time period, you will need to leave that country. With rules changing daily after the pandemic, it is safer to apply for a longer-term option, once you are allowed to do so.
Some countries, such as Portugal, allow foreigners to apply for residency and then citizenship after meeting some requirements. With the Portugal example, if you can prove you meet the minimum threshold annual income, you may be allowed to live there and get citizenship after only five years. In this particular case, you would not have to give up your US Citizenship. Other countries, like Greece, have similar thresholds and options.
Often, creativity can be your best friend when making the decision to move overseas. Many Expat Blogs provide a lot of creative ideas. You can also target job searches to the country you wish to live in. Living overseas provides such a unique opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and broaden your perspectives. America will always be my home, but I am so extremely grateful that I made the leap to try a new country. Seven countries of residence and 79 countries visited later, I am a different person. Now, on to plan my next location!
Have you lived overseas? What was your experience?
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