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  • Elizabeth Cochran

Moving abroad guide

Does travelling the world excite you? Do you want to know how to travel and work abroad? Then this is the perfect article for you. I have worked abroad in Thailand and am a freelance writer and small business owner. I have been an ESL teacher in Thailand and am a 23 year old solo female traveler. So lets get into it!

How to prepare

Okay so you have already decided you want to move abroad, but now the huge daunting question is now what? What do I do now?

1. Prepare a cushion of savings

Yes, prepare some savings. It is just the smart thing to do. You never know what could happen, so having a few months of cushion of savings can save you for any type of emergency. Research the cost of living in the country you are moving to then save about 3-5 months of living in that country. This amount is dependent upon where you are moving of course and on your own decision. I recommend about 3 months of savings, if you know you have a job lined up for sure. I had some horror stories with taking a job in Thailand for my first go. I luckily had more than 5 months of income for Thailand standards and was secure. I did my research again and easily found a new teaching job that was honest and true for work standards.

2. Research the cost of living and your estimated budget

I lived in South East Asia, which as many know is full of super affordable countries for expats to live in whether that is Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia or others. The cost of living in all of these countries I have learned from research and talking with other expats is fairly similar in regards to cost. For other places like living in Europe the cost of living is much different compared to South East Asia. Just do your research and reach out to other expat communities.

How do I create a budget? Do some basic research whether that is asking someone in a Facebook group or watching Youtube videos. This will give you a basic idea on the costs of things and its exciting to learn more about the country this way too. Personally, I like to watch Youtube videos and chat with someone on a community page and get information that way.

3. Research bank accounts friendly for international access

If you already have a big bank account that is widely accepted in the US then you are probably good to go, but I had a small town local bank. This meant it was essential for me to get a better and improved more international bank. I did my research and am sharing this information to you that if you plan to travel a lot and don't want to pay international fees, or ATM fees then sign up for a free account with Charles Schwab. I have a checking account with them. It is all based online mostly, but there are locations if you need it in the USA. Because their main goal is online banking everything can be accessed online through the web or their application. Not only can you access your account easily online, you are free from high international fees and reimbursed all ATM fees monthly. As a traveler this is a no-brainer that this bank is super friendly for those that live abroad or travel a lot.

How do I connect with other expats?

A significant thing when becoming an expat somewhere is to be connected with other expats too. It is a community and it is so useful to utilize this and connect with them. Of course every country is different, but most countries have Facebook so a Facebook group search can help you meet other expats to where you are moving. I know that I become a part of a few Facebook groups before moving to Thailand, but when I moved to Morocco I did not do this and wish I had before I left.

In Thailand there are a big number of expats that live in Thailand. To give you an idea of where the expats are in Thailand, they live in Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Bangkok, Lopburi, Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi, Kanchanaburi to name a few of the biggest hot spots for expats. There are many different Facebook groups for expats in Thailand.

Check out my free download too to fully prepare you for that move abroad.

4. I want to teach and live abroad

If you want to teach and live abroad, speaking from my experience you can definitely do that and travel. It might be a bit of slower travel, but you can live and work in a country, get TEFL certified, and have fun experiences while teaching English. You can get employed in the country to get a work visa, to stay and teach. Or to be more nomadic and moving around frequently you can teach online with a platform I use, called italki. Italki I particularly like it, because you can teach on the platform casually, or professionally. The students are all ages and from all over the world, so that means your students aren't relying from just one country such as China. Before, I taught with a Chinese company only, and now the made a law that you have to be located in China to teach to Chinese people. It is great that since this company is a language platform for all countries in the world, you don't have to worry about not having students.

Don't forget to get TEFL certificate though, as it means higher chance of getting hired, experience, and meeting the qualifications to teach. You can get certified online and this is a reputable company called uni prep, where you can get the full 120 hour TEFL certificate online. Check out my full guide for teaching in Thailand for more information here.

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