Moving to another country is indeed a breathtaking experience! However to be fully prepared to face all the challenges this experience might bring it is important to answer (to yourself) 3 questions:
1. What are the main opportunities and risks?
It is important to understand what is the main aim of you moving to this country? It can be getting a new experience in your professional sphere, studying, improving your language skills, exploring new country and its culture, having a family reconnected or maybe it is the way for you to find or challenge yourself?
Understanding your main aim will help you to handle challenges and overcome fears in the future. Nevertheless, it is also crucial to consider possible risks.
Personally, I would recommend you to use “Decision Making Quadrant” for such purposes. Although this tool is very simple, I find it very effective, since it allows you to think through both scenarios with answering only 4 questions.
2. What are the average monthly expenses? And how am I planning to earn money?
Basically, you need to plan your expenses (well, easy to say). I understand, that most of the time in our life it is hard to predict anything (especially, your expenses; especially in Switzerland). I was struggling too before moving.
However some of the expenses you can predict quite precisely, by looking at:
- Prices for accommodation (most relevant websites in Switzerland, where you can check prices for it: https://www.wgzimmer.ch, https://flatfox.ch/en/)
- Visa application costs (usually all the information provided on the official website of the country)
- Prices for food and groceries (in Switzerland you can check the prices online; most popular chains: Migro, Aldi, Coop, Lidl)
- Insurance fee
- Prices for furniture and electronics (https://www.ikea.com/ch/en/, https://www.galaxus.ch)
Moreover it is also important to consider job opportunities in this country. Having a job or confirmed work will make the move much easier.
But if you are a student there are plenty of sites which offers internships and part-time jobs.
3. Do I know any of the official languages of this country?
I didn’t 😀
And, to be honest, because of that first month was a complete disaster (even though my studying was in English). I couldn’t even go to the shop without a dictionary. It took me one month to realize that I was using fabric softener instead of laundry detergent. During my first yoga class (of course, it was in German) I was nervously trying to copy what others were doing (no time to relax!). The only way I could travel was with my german-speaking friends. In other words, I felt lost most of the time.
But I was lucky enough to register for free German courses at my University. However, you can find various offers from different language centres. Normally, intense courses (5 days per week) will cost you about 500-600 Fr. per month. Plus don’t forget about free online platforms for learning language such as Duolingo, Tinycards, Quizlet Flashcards & Homework, Memrise.
Ideally it is better to learn language before you going to another country! This way it will be easier for you to adapt.
Of course, there are more things to consider such as understanding cultural differences, banking system, religion, visa and permit limitations…
Today I considered three things which were most important for me.
Did you experience moving to another country? What were the main challenges for you?