Settling In Yourself
Preparations in Your Home Country
Whatever your reasons for wanting to relocate to another country, whether in Europe or outside Europe, once you have made the decision that relocation is the right move for you and if it is the case your family, then the hard work begins.
This is going to be a stressful experience. Don´t be fooled into thinking otherwise, and don´t allow anyone to convince you that you will not experience problems. You will! However you can minimize the amount of stress that you and your family experience with a little forethought and planning.
- It is not just yourself you have to think about.
- Making use of the internet.
- Do as much of the groundwork while you are in still living in your home country.
- Don´t let language be a barrier.
- Be prepared.
- Collecting information.
- Keep your eye on the ball.
Remember to include your friends and family in all stages of your decision. The more time that you, your friends, and your immediate, and extended family members have to get used to the idea that you will be leaving, the less stressful the actual event will be, and the more likely you are to have a strong support network around you. Thus, when the day finally arrives for you to leave your home country for good, the easier you will find it, and the more likely you are to be able to concentrate on settling in, instead of worrying about how your friends and family are coping without you.
The internet should be your number one tool during your preparations to relocate. While using the internet to research your new home and country you can involve your friends and family members in the decision making process. You can show them where you are planning to relocate to, and get them excited, and enthused about your decision. Involving all your friends and family as much as possible, and as early as possible, not only gets you support but also emotionally prepares them, that there is going to come a day, when you are getting on a plane (most likely), and will not be returning home.
You are likely to need to make a few visits to your chosen country, in our case Gran Canaria, before the date for your relocation arrives, and believe me, it will arrive much sooner than you think. What we mean by Groundwork, is opening bank accounts, signing the contracts on rental homes, or completing the sale if you are buying a property. During these visits, it is an extremely beneficial exercise to get out and about. Get to really know the area you and your family are going to relocate to. Make new friends, and keep in touch with them while you are in your home country. Find out where you can go to learn the native language of your chosen country. Obtain advice, and recommendations about choices of schools, if you are relocating with children of school age. Gran Canaria, like many countries offers Spanish schools and all children are welcome, but at least in the beginning it may be worth considering, enrolling your children at an international school, where they will meet other children of a similar age, from different countries, including their own, thus reducing the risk of a complete culture shock and ensuing homesickness.
While you are still living in your home country, make use of any spare time you may have to begin learning learning the native language of your country of choice. In the case of Gran Canaria, you would need to be learning Spanish. This will help so much with your transition, and integration into a new life, and culture. So often, in foreign countries, nationalities will naturally gravitate towards each other, and as a result form little ghettoes. This has benefits, and drawbacks. The obvious benefit is you are able to use your native language. The drawback being, as is so often the case, many expats that find themselves living among a concentration of expats speaking their language, they forget to learn the new native language. Also be aware that as soon as you have arrived in your new country, their will be official paperwork to be completed, and the more you can speak in the new native language - in Gran Canaria, Spanish, the more you will be able to complete without the need for assistance, and the smoother the transition will feel.
If you are moving with young children or teens, that are still at school, you are going to have to work. Obvious? yes, but do your research. Better still if you can secure employment before you arrive. This is one less pressure, and will aid you enormously with settling in and the transition into a new life and culture. It is also extremely useful to have a financial cushion. This may of course be another way to include the children, encouraging them to help you save for the move.
Helping your friends , and family adjust, is going to be really important. You will have lots of information already, but make sure that you have addresses, telephone numbers, and email information. This will assure them that you intend to stay in contact wuth them after you have left your home country. Remember it is you that will have left, and it will be your responsibility to maintain that contact. Don´t let "out of sight out of mind" become true for you.
Plan the date to relocate well. If you are moving children and you can put off relocating until one of the longer school holidays, this will enable them and you to settle in to your new home, work, and neighbourhood, all before the pressure of meeting school timetables begins. Another consideration might be relocating your pets. Depending on the size, breed, age and whether cat or dog, should be factors in deciding you final date to relocate. Speak to a vet that knows your pet. Follow his advice and guidance. It is worth noting that if you are relocating to Gran Canaria, and your pet is not as young as he or she used to be, the summer months get very hot, and aside of probably being by the sea, the air can still get very dry. Our personal experience and advice was to relocate with our dog during the winter months, (October - the end of March), this way the first year after relocating, your pet experiences an extended summer, and the following year will acclimatize as he or she warms up naturally with the slowly increasing temperatures. Don´t forget to read our page on Moving Pets.