Choosing a new promised land

Moving out and choosing the right country can be difficult. Before you make a decision, write down a list of pros and cons of your promised land.

Moving to a promised land

(part 1)

Moving abroad and starting over. There may be multiple reasons for such an outlandish thought. Schools and employers often send students or employees to foreign countries, to face new challenges and develop new skills. But if this decision comes solely on your own initiative, it will open endless possibilities. And weeks of consideration, revaluation, google-ing and research.

With a single click, you’ll get rankings of the top cities and countries for living standards, the work of digital nomads, lists of destinations with the most beautiful nature, countries with the best conditions for expats. One could go on indefinitely. Of course, read them carefully, and get inspired, but there are criteria and benchmarks that you have to evaluate for yourself. Make a list of priorities and answer the important questions before you set your mind on a single country or city on the world map.

Visas & work permits

One of the things that will limit you most is the availability of visas and work permits, residence permits, and other statutory requirements without which your travel to a particular country can not take place. Carefully go through your list of potential countries and check the conditions on which visas or work permits are issued. Know that the list of available countries will narrow considerably.

Work and living standards

Do you have enough information about employment, career opportunities, tax rates, living standards, working conditions and working hours, as well as living costs?

Do you have something to offer to the labor market? Can you adapt and are you ready to retrain if needed?

Consider whether your income will be at least as high as the local average wage.

Housing and transport

Everyone has their idea of home. It could be a wooden cabin, a maisonette apartment, a renovated school house with a round table in the dining room. Look for availability and prices for apartments and houses in your potential new location. Prices will be more favourable on the outskirts of town, but consider the transport network. Will you have a car? Housing in the suburbs can be safer, but oftentimes the commute you’ll be required to make will see you returning home with the lights off and the kids fast asleep.

Kids come first

Education systems vary in different parts of the world, with different countries holding differing levels of quality and school availability. How will the education in your chosen country affect your offspring?

Other important factors to consider are: levels of crime, the possibility of free or subsidised health care and transport to school.

Language

The languages spoken in your new country also play a key role. How will you communicate with the authorities, at work and in your free time?

The most widely spoken languages include Chinese, English, Spanish, Russian, French, Hindi, Arabic and Portuguese. Do you hold a good command any of them, to make acclimatisation easier for yourself and your family?

Can you stand fifty degrees Celsius below zero or fifty degrees above zero? Would you rather choose the North Pole or Sub-saharan Africa? Fortunately, your dilemma does not have to take into account these extremes, and choosing a new climate may be a more fun part of important decision making.

Sea, mountains, cities, lakes, desert. Humidity, wind, drought, heat; snow or sun; coast or inland? What’s preferable to you?

The influence of air quality and pollution has a significant impact on human health, while weather and climate affects both our mental and physical well-being. Some people could barely imagine spending half the year in jackets, caps and gloves, others would miss the first snow.

Find out what the minimum, maximum and average temperatures are in different countries and get ready for compromise. Last but not least, the threat of natural disasters; hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, droughts or storms threaten some places on our planet more frequently. Something to consider.

(to be continued)

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