Things To Consider When Moving Abroad: Suggestions From Expat Focus Readers

ExpatFocus recently published an article which discussed the factors people should consider when they’re thinking about moving abroad. The feedback received from readers was fantastic and we felt that those expats deserved to be heard!The original article covered topics including visas, property purchases, healthcare and employment. It ran through many of the important instructions on issues faced by those choosing to move abroad. However, readers of this article pinpointed further elements they wish they had considered before settling into their new home.

Expat readers in Morocco suggested that more information concerning medication costs and dosage sizes would be handy. One reader said, “I was so surprised that a common blood pressure medication that starts at 25mg and goes to 200mg in the US is only available in a 200mg dosage here.” Another said, “all over-the-counter medication from a Moroccan pharmacy is of a much higher price than in Walmart.” Their solution? “Stock up and check availability of medications before moving abroad”. Some medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring all the medicines you think you might need, and contact Morocco’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.

Italy

Italian readers said that consideration should be given to the types and standards of the local education. Education in Italy is compulsory from six to 16 years of age and is divided into five stages: kindergarten, primary school, lower secondary school, upper secondary school and university.

Education is free in Italy and is available to children of all nationalities who are resident in Italy. Italy has both a private and public education system. The quality of education at public schools is considered higher than in private schools, as measured by educational outcomes.

Philippines

Expats in the Philippines felt that “the most important thing was to go with an open mind and learn to adapt to local cultures”. The Philippines comprises a blend of traditional Filipino and Spanish Catholic traditions, with influences from America and other parts of Asia.

Filipino people are family-oriented and often religious with an appreciation for art, fashion, music and food. Family relationships are of great importance in a Filipino’s life, closely followed by faith and religiosity.

It was also suggested that consideration be given to “how close you are to a good, modern hospital”. One reader said “Don’t live in Boracay. They have none!”

Greece

Expats in Greece said that an international driver’s license is worth jumping “through the nonsense hoops to get” as you will need this licence to buy or rent a car in Greece. Furthermore, “you will want copies of your birth certificate” and driving licence, “translated into Greek with an Apostille”. This certification should be attached to your original document to verify it is legitimate and authentic.

One of our favourite suggestions was, “if you’re living in Greece, be prepared to adopt a cat, dog, or multiple of both.”

Another reader suggested banking with Charles Schwab as they offer a “free checking account with no minimums, no ATM fees and no international charges”, which is a great way to save money. Largely an investment firm, Charles Schwab offers two types of bank accounts and money can be accessed by using a Schwab Bank Visa® Platinum Debit Card.

Sweden

Expat readers in Sweden suggested that more information on “how to be a self-employed person or run a business as a way to locate abroad” would be helpful and open up so many “opportunities in this digital age”.

More information about credit freezing when moving from the USA was also suggested. A credit freeze or credit report lockdown allows an individual to control how a consumer reporting agency (also known as credit bureau) can sell their data. You should be aware that using a credit freeze to control the access of personal and financial information in your file may delay, interfere with or prohibit the swift approval of any new loans, mortgages, insurance, government services or payments and more.

It was also felt that the issue of forwarding your mail to your new home should be given more consideration.

Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!