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To Expats: What are keys to your success in moving abroad?

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Winston
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To Expats: What are keys to your success in moving abroad?

Post by Winston » July 4th, 2014, 1:01 am

To all Expats living overseas here:

I have an important and relevant topic question for you. What has been the keys to your success in moving abroad? As we all know, it's not easy or simple to just pick up and move to another country. There are many obstacles and complications involved, some are psychological, but some are practical too. That's why there are still so many here who have not gone abroad yet, even though they want to badly. So I thought it would be a great and productive topic that we can all learn from.

So for those of you who have successfully moved overseas, can you share with us what you did to make it happen? Can you outline how you did it, the steps you took, etc? What were the keys do your successful migration?

As for me, I lived with my parents while working temp jobs and saving up money. If you are from an Asian family, this is easier since Asian families do not require you to be independent when you are 20. (however, many white families have adults living at home too, as we all know, it's more common than you might think) I felt that this was smart and made sense, since why go out and rent an apartment and pay $600 to $800 a month in rent when you have no satisfactory or fun life in America? You'd just end up being depressed alone. So I saw no point. It seemed like a big waste of money that could be saved to go abroad.

I was also good at saving up money, since frugality is a part of my nature. And I was good at getting temp jobs since I had good office skills, a good resume, and come across as very sincere and genuine in job interviews. Me being Asian also worked in my favor as employers assumed that I was a good workers based on the Asian worker stereotype. And I had credit cards too, so I could just put my airfares on them. I first got a credit card by having my parents co-sign it.

Also, I went to live in countries like the Philippines, where cost of living is pretty low, so I could live on a small income or savings. I also had few attachments and obligations in the US, so I did not leave much behind except for a comfortable home in the suburbs and my folks.

I would say that those were the keys to how I moved overseas, first to Russia, then to Philippines a few years later.

So anyway, I'd love to hear from other expats here on how they were able to move overseas, and what the keys to their successful migration were. This is an important topic that we could all learn from. So I hope it generates some useful and practical discussion that will be beneficial here.

I look forward to your responses.
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Post by ***JP*** » July 4th, 2014, 3:11 am

Well one thing I would say is that moving abroad is serious business. At least in my part it took me a long time not only to plan the trip but also to save up some money to get by with. One thing I can honestly say is that in my experience it took me a while to find a job. So always come prepared with a budget to help you survive because it could be weeks or months before finding a job. Also if looking for a job abroad besides teaching english, look for jobs with companies that do a lot of international business, usually these companies look for native speakers of the countries that they serve.

One thing is for sure. For me moving abroad was the best decision I ever took. I'm honestly happier and feel completely alive here. Yes I don't make the same salary as back in the states but for me it was worth moving.

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Post by Contrarian Expatriate » July 4th, 2014, 3:19 am

The keys to my expatriation are as follows:

-Extensive travel to almost 100 countries (mostly for work) enabled me to learn what regions/places are for me and those which are not. Don't settle on a country until you have traveled around a bit, and DO NOT rely on other peoples' assessments of a country which often will not be your assessment.

-Have a financial plan. Mine was to work until I retire early and spend the summers in my countries of choice and the winters in South Florida.

-Get to know some locals whom you trust just to assist you with issues like drivers licenses, car insurance, car registration, doctors, hospitals, etc. I have actually paid local girls to be personal assistants on occasion just to assist with local red tape and the like.

-Consider spending extra and staying in hotels instead of isolating yourself in an apartment. Hotels are a wealth of socialization and information that can make you comfortable and render assistance when required.

-Avoid the "expat" places, especially those frequented by Americans. Americans abroad tend to flock together on the same beaten path. They are usually obnoxious, arrogant, and poorly adjusted to local culture. I became an expat to avoid American social rot so try not to seek it out in your new place. There are plenty of English-speaking citizens of other countries that you can befriend without being sucked into the "Amer'can Circle."

-Develop a thick-skin for things we would consider taboo or politically incorrect. I have heard people call me n*gger while trying to welcome me to their city. The bigoted intent is not usually present in utterances of that nature.

-Have a plan for your taxes, medical care, dental care, and emergencies. I take a yearly trip to the USA for medical, dental and taxes, but some of you might choose to do all from your adopted country.

-DO NOT give trust easily, especially to local men. Not every smile is a friendly one, and opportunists abound. Most of them assume you are a rich American even if you are living hand to mouth. Keep suspicious local men and bad women at an arms length.

-Avoid trouble, walk away from fights, and ignore provocations. Spending a week in a local jail for something another person started is a bad way to go. Some locals would love to see you carted off to jail to remove you as a rival or knock you off of your high local status. Don't fall for those traps.

-Lose all attire that screams "American." That means no baseball caps, tennis shoes, or frumpy dress habits. Jeans are fine, but wear a blazer and casual shoes to make that international bon vivant impression.

-Learn the local language as much as you can. Spend time in a classroom and supplement that with small talk in public. This is very important in the long term. Many people speak English around the world, but you will be connecting with so many more with the local language under your belt. You can also be more independent living in your country of choice when you are literate.

-Make sure you find ATMs that are connected to your US bank. You should keep some emergency cash on hand because many ATMs have limits on daily withdrawals. Cash in your room can come in handy if you need an escape ticket or transportation out of dodge.

-Have a local will drawn up by a local attorney and have a US will done for the US also. Keep copies of both in your possession at all times.

-Consider registering with the US Consulate so they know you are in town and can render assistance. If your country goes haywire or some disaster takes place, the US Consulate can reserve a plane or ferry seat for you and your family. They can also assist if you are in the hospital or if you are taken to jail for something. Finally, they keep you up to date on security information that might benefit you to know during tense periods.

There are many more, but these come to mind right now.

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Post by xiongmao » July 4th, 2014, 7:18 pm

I did things in stages to build my confidence:

2005: Went on first vacation by myself, to NY.
2006: Went to HK by myself, to prep myself for going to Japan.
2007: Went to Japan by myself.

They were only vacations, but to prep for going to live in Asia last year:

I established uber-frugal lifestyle from 2008 onwards. Result - I saved ~60% of my salary each month. If you have a healthy bank account balance, then you can walk out of jobs you hate, and generally do anything you dream of. That builds a lot of confidence.

If you want to go to another country, you need a PLAN. Decide WHERE to go, and HOW TO GET A RESIDENCY VISA.

If you have one, then keep your career on the back burner as well. A career break is something good to talk about at job interviews, but make sure you establish your career first.

I wasted time trying to make passive income to keep me going in Asia. I would have been better focussing on my career. If I was half my age I'd be skilling up in the IT skills that £100K a year jobs are asking for on JobServe/Indeed.

When it comes to actually going abroad, have as few ties back home as possible, especially financial ones. It's practically impossible to live in two places at once, so don't attempt it.
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Re: To Expats: What are keys to your success in moving abroa

Post by The_Adventurer » October 26th, 2014, 4:47 pm

I didn't know I was a member of this forum.

I did something very different than others who have written here. I took a risk and just DID IT! I sold everything I owned, which amounts to about $2000 after buying a laptop and the expensive plane ticket, and just took off the Philippines. This wasn't my first trip abroad, as I had been to China and Japan a couple of time before, for work, but I'm talking about moving. With the writer's strike in Hollywood, things got bad financially in the US and I figured I would take my chances.

With my meager website income combined with some article writing, the kind where you get $0.02 per word, or so, I was making a few hundred bucks per month, but I could LIVE in the Philippines on that. More importantly, I was FREE. I woke up and everyday was mine to do with as I pleased. No boss telling me where to be or what to do. I could focus on growing my online income.

There were ups and downs and even near brushes with homelessness, but I kept pushing on in the spirit of adventure. When I lift the Philippines for Korea, I also just did it. I met a cute Korean girl, she said come with me to Korea, so I did. I stayed with her and her family for several months. When things didn't work out, I went back to the Philippines, but tried a different island.

The Philippines is a great spring board for all of Asia. It is cheap and doesn't have the visa issues of some other countries. Back in those days, my ultimate goal was Japan, since my work is somewhat anime oriented. That was before the nuclear disaster though. So I continued working on my business in the Philippines, went to Japan once in between, and eventually ended up in China where I still reside. I haven't been back to the US in over six years. Here are the lessons I have learned:

1. If you plan to rely on online income as your means to live abroad, learn internet marketing. I took some expensive internet marketing courses, one cost as much as $500. Some might say the purveyors of these courses are sheisters and rip-offs, and maybe they are, but I learned a lot from them and the techniques therein have, on more than one occasion, saved my bacon. For instance, in one of those scrapes with homelessness I mentioned earlier, I was super late on rent and headed for living in the street. Using what I learned in those courses, I threw together an ebook, promoted it quickly and made several hundred bucks in a couple of days. Problem solved. I also took a course in email marketing. As much as I hate spam, and tend to delete it without a glance, email marketing works.

2. Your online business should be based around your passion! Yes. I am going to sound like Jamaican in China, because he is right. This is something I DIDN'T do. My business was based on something I was good at, and it made quick money, but over time I grew to despise it more and more. As such, I didn't put enough into it or do it as well, and the income faltered. Back in 2009 I was really doing my passion (cartoons). It was a lot more work and made a lot less money, but I loved every minute of it. If I had persisted, I would be making a LOT more money now and it would be much more stable. Since I didn't, I am now teaching animation courses at a couple of universities to supplement my dwindling online income. This means a certain loss of the freedom which was the whole point of moving abroad.

3. I prefer to have bank accounts in every country I frequent and have them all connected to Paypal. This makes life and business easier. You can also have escape and/or emergency money waiting for you in a country when you get there.

4. Women are dangerous. They will demand time, energy or money, probably all three. For the first couple of years of online business you will need to make an incredible time investment. If you are living with a gf or wife, or a family, be prepared to rent another room elsewhere for your office. There were times when I was living with a gf or a big family and I couldn't get any work done, or concentrate. In those earlier years I couldn't afford to rent a separate room. Focus on your business FIRST. After some time, it may seem to more and more run by itself. Then you can have a lot more fun. (This is also why your business should be your passion, something you have always wanted to do)

Many other lessons Contrarian wrote out very well, so I won't bother to repeat them.

If you're not the risk taking type, it would be wise to plan every detail like many others above have written. In my case, though , I believe life is short. I would hate to spend years planning for my great trip abroad and then get hit by a bus before I ever get on the plane.
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Re: To Expats: What are keys to your success in moving abroa

Post by Jester » February 21st, 2015, 11:23 pm

The_Adventurer wrote:I didn't know I was a member of this forum.

I did something very different than others who have written here. I took a risk and just DID IT! I sold everything I owned, which amounts to about $2000 after buying a laptop and the expensive plane ticket, and just took off the Philippines. This wasn't my first trip abroad, as I had been to China and Japan a couple of time before, for work, but I'm talking about moving. With the writer's strike in Hollywood, things got bad financially in the US and I figured I would take my chances.

With my meager website income combined with some article writing, the kind where you get $0.02 per word, or so, I was making a few hundred bucks per month, but I could LIVE in the Philippines on that. More importantly, I was FREE. I woke up and everyday was mine to do with as I pleased. No boss telling me where to be or what to do. I could focus on growing my online income.

There were ups and downs and even near brushes with homelessness, but I kept pushing on in the spirit of adventure. When I lift the Philippines for Korea, I also just did it. I met a cute Korean girl, she said come with me to Korea, so I did. I stayed with her and her family for several months. When things didn't work out, I went back to the Philippines, but tried a different island.

The Philippines is a great spring board for all of Asia. It is cheap and doesn't have the visa issues of some other countries.
Back in those days, my ultimate goal was Japan, since my work is somewhat anime oriented. That was before the nuclear disaster though. So I continued working on my business in the Philippines, went to Japan once in between, and eventually ended up in China where I still reside. I haven't been back to the US in over six years. Here are the lessons I have learned:

1. If you plan to rely on online income as your means to live abroad, learn internet marketing. I took some expensive internet marketing courses, one cost as much as $500. Some might say the purveyors of these courses are sheisters and rip-offs, and maybe they are, but I learned a lot from them and the techniques therein have, on more than one occasion, saved my bacon. For instance, in one of those scrapes with homelessness I mentioned earlier, I was super late on rent and headed for living in the street. Using what I learned in those courses, I threw together an ebook, promoted it quickly and made several hundred bucks in a couple of days. Problem solved. I also took a course in email marketing. As much as I hate spam, and tend to delete it without a glance, email marketing works.

2. Your online business should be based around your passion!
Yes. I am going to sound like Jamaican in China, because he is right. This is something I DIDN'T do. My business was based on something I was good at, and it made quick money, but over time I grew to despise it more and more. As such, I didn't put enough into it or do it as well, and the income faltered. Back in 2009 I was really doing my passion (cartoons). It was a lot more work and made a lot less money, but I loved every minute of it. If I had persisted, I would be making a LOT more money now and it would be much more stable. Since I didn't, I am now teaching animation courses at a couple of universities to supplement my dwindling online income. This means a certain loss of the freedom which was the whole point of moving abroad.

3. I prefer to have bank accounts in every country I frequent and have them all connected to Paypal. This makes life and business easier. You can also have escape and/or emergency money waiting for you in a country when you get there.

4. Women are dangerous. They will demand time, energy or money, probably all three. For the first couple of years of online business you will need to make an incredible time investment. If you are living with a gf or wife, or a family, be prepared to rent another room elsewhere for your office. There were times when I was living with a gf or a big family and I couldn't get any work done, or concentrate. In those earlier years I couldn't afford to rent a separate room. Focus on your business FIRST. After some time, it may seem to more and more run by itself. Then you can have a lot more fun. (This is also why your business should be your passion, something you have always wanted to do)

Many other lessons Contrarian wrote out very well, so I won't bother to repeat them.

If you're not the risk taking type, it would be wise to plan every detail like many others above have written. In my case, though , I believe life is short. I would hate to spend years planning for my great trip abroad and then get hit by a bus before I ever get on the plane.
Great stuff here.

Some of this I've not heard elsewhere.

thanks.
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Re:

Post by eurobrat » February 22nd, 2015, 2:40 am

Contrarian Expatriate wrote:
-Have a plan for your taxes, medical care, dental care, and emergencies. I take a yearly trip to the USA for medical, dental and taxes, but some of you might choose to do all from your adopted country.
I have a hard time believing you are abroad after reading this sentence. :roll:

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Re: To Expats: What are keys to your success in moving abroa

Post by xiongmao » February 22nd, 2015, 11:10 pm

Well said The_Adventurer - yes women *are* dangerous and a friend of mine learnt that the hard way. He fell for a serial femme fatale, they argued, things were said, the police were involved, now the guy can't work because he has a criminal record.

But on to happier things... I went to a talk last month about teaching in China. One guy went to China with $2000, but he said the other guy he was with took $400 and that was enough to get started as a teacher (both already had job offers).

I am abroad again, and the hardest thing is actually taking action and quitting your job, selling your stuff and booking that plane ticket.
I quit my boring cubicle slave job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
Do YOU want to date beautiful foreign women? Find out which country's women are best for you, and which dating site to look for them on!
Want to teach English overseas? Check out my experiences teaching at a Uni in China.
Plus, if you like Asian girls, then join my free Asian dating site.

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