What you should know before moving to Europe
Moving to Europe from Asia – or from anywhere else in the world – is a huge step. Anytime you move to a new country there are several things that need to be taken care of. The more you know about being an expat in a new country, the better prepared you will be and the transition will be way more seamless.
Passports and residency
If you are planning a move to a European country either for business purposes or any other reason, you would be able to stay for 90 days using standard short-stay visa. If you are moving to Europe as an employee, a student or an intern, different rules will apply depending on the destination country. Several countries grant permanent resident visas while others offer employment specific and student visas. In order to find out exactly what policy is applied for a specific country of your choice, you would need to contact the department of immigration. It is important to understand that you will need to have a passport.
Finding a place to live
If you are traveling to Europe as a student, you may be staying on the campus of the university that you are going to be attending. If you are moving for work, your employer might have already arranged your housing. If you don’t have anywhere to stay, and you cannot afford to live in a hotel for a few months, you may want to look for a hostel. This may not be the best place in the long run because you will be sharing what is called ‘a dorm’ with many other people. There are some hostels what can accommodate up to 22 people in one room. If this is all you can afford, it is still your best bet, especially since hostels offer room and board. The living conditions will eventually get uncomfortable, and you will need to start looking for an apartment.
Make friends with other expats
Once you have settled into your new home in Europe, you need to start making friends. When you first arrive, you will benefit alot from a connection with other expats. These people will understand how you feel living so far from home, being homesick, not knowing the customs and frequently getting lost. Being friends with people in a similar situation to yours can make your adjustment much easier. If you start out in a hostel, chances are you are going to meet other people who are new to Europe. If you are looking to meet other expats, the internet can be your friend. You can search for a local expat group on Facebook. If you cannot find one, then start one. You can also try visiting expatriates.com. It is a website where you can find ads from other expats in your area, looking for roommates. You can also join one of the communities that interest you. Internations.org is also a good place to meet other people. You also should try to make friends with some of the locals as they will have a great deal of information about the place that you are living at, and it’s also part of the fun of living abroad.
You want to make the most of your time living abroad, and that means immersing yourself into the culture. Europe can boast a very long history, iconic landmarks and architecture that is centuries old. If you don’t speak the language, you should start. There is no better way to learn a foreign language than by being in the country and speaking to the locals. The more you immerse yourself into the local culture, the more rewarding the experience will be. Also, if you are planning to be a permanent expat, the more you immerse yourself at the beginning, the sooner Europe will start to feel like home and you will feel more like a local.
Living abroad can be the most frightening and the most exciting thing that you do in your life all at the same time. If you are prepared for what to expect when you get there and you know what you need to do, the experience should end up being more exciting than frightening. Living abroad is something most people will never have a chance to do. It is up to you to make the most of it.