Whether you studied abroad as an undergrad and dream of returning, or you never got the chance and now want to experience life in another part of the world, moving abroad after college has become increasingly attractive to recent grads. However, finding a job, budgeting your finances, and adapting to a new culture is no easy feat.
If you’re planning on moving abroad after college, here’s how you can make the move as seamless as possible.
Find a job or another way to support yourself
If you want to live abroad after college, you will need to secure a job or at least some way to support yourself. More and more US businesses are offering remote work opportunities, which may allow you to work for a US company while living anywhere in the world. You could also consider getting a job with a US-based company that has offices in your chosen destination. If you have web-based skills such as coding, writing, or graphic design skills, you may even be able to live as a digital nomad. Last, but not least, you can also simply look for a job in your country and city of choice.
Whatever you decide, if possible, try and secure the job ahead of time. One advantage to this is that, if your skill set is in high demand, the company may offer to help with moving expenses or pay for your relocation entirely. Keep in mind that some locations are cheaper to live in than the US, while others are more expensive. You will most likely need to do some research to determine just how much you need to make in order to support yourself abroad.
Save up, budget, and minimize your costs
Traveling abroad can be expensive, even if you choose to live and work somewhere less expensive than the US. If you are able to get a job in the US that allows you to travel but still receive a US income, then you may be in good shape. Otherwise, you will need to do some careful budgeting and money management.
If you have student loans, you need to determine when you’ll need to start paying them back and budget for that as well. Some loan programs give you up to a year to start repayment, so you can use that to your advantage. Volunteering or going to grad school are other ways to live abroad while still managing expenses. Some volunteer programs may even help you pay back a portion of your student loans.
Downsize your life
Traveling overseas is expensive and the more you want to take with you, the more expensive it gets. Paying for storage while you’re abroad also gets pricey and will ultimately leave you with that much less money to live on overseas.
If you happen to have parents, friends, or relatives with a large garage you can leave all your stuff in, great — otherwise, it’s best to plan on getting rid of as much stuff as possible rather than trying to take it with you. Another advantage of getting rid of your stuff rather than storing it or taking it with you, is that it can also help provide some additional income to help get you where you want to go.
Research governmental restrictions and requirements
Traveling to a foreign country as a tourist is a whole different issue from moving there for an extended period of time. In part, this is because most tourists come into the country, leave a good portion of their income there, and then leave. If you want to stay in a country, they want to be sure that you will be able to support yourself rather than them supporting you.
One advantage to being a digital nomad is that you may be able to simply travel around on a tourist visa. If you will be living or staying in multiple countries, however, you will want to carefully research the laws in each country you plan to visit or live in.
Another advantage of getting a job with a local company, attending grad school, or traveling as a volunteer is that you’re essentially sponsored by an organization who will most likely also be able to help with the legal logistics. Even living in a country with friendly diplomatic relations with the US, such as Germany, France, or the UK can still be risky and leave you vulnerable. Making your arrangement through a larger company or organization can give you a kind of safety net you won’t have on your own.
Last, but not least, also keep in mind that just because you are living in a foreign country does not automatically guarantee you will not still have to pay Uncle Sam every year. So make sure you know what your tax obligations are as a US citizen. Otherwise, you may find yourself in hot water once you return.
How ULS Can Help
If you’re traveling overseas for work, ULS can help with all your translation needs. From diplomas and transcripts to cover letters and CVs, we provide professional, certified translation services in more than 200 languages.