Studying abroad can be a very daunting and overwhelming thing to do, and whether you are moving for work or for study, you may not know how to properly prepare your life ready for the big move. Relocating to a new area, especially in a different country, can be anxiety-provoking, but it can also offer you the experience of a lifetime.

Once you have made the decision to move away, and the initial excitement is over, you may be concerned about the practicalities that come with uprooting your whole life. However, the sooner you start the process, the more manageable things will be. You will need to take care of arrangements for both your old life in the country you are currently living in, as well as getting yourself prepared for your new life in the country you are moving to.

In particular, packing up your possessions, deciding what to bring and not to bring and the moving process itself can be thrilling, but it can also be very stressful and complicated. Here are seven easy steps to help you along the way.

1. Prepare for a New Culture

When you move abroad, you are likely to meet a whole new range of people from various backgrounds. Even if some of the people you meet speak the same language as you, their culture may be very different to yours and this is something that you should consider before you go away. You may find yourself experiencing a bit of a culture shock when you first arrive, which may make you feel homesick, but preparing yourself for a new way of life is a great way to help you settle in sooner.

Everything you are used to is likely to change once you move abroad, from the food you eat to the currency you use, so it is important to do a little research before you go.

2. Arrange Storage

It is very unlikely that you will be able to take all your belongings and furniture abroad with you when you move, so you should look into renting your own storage unit. This can be a great way to keep your things safe while you are away where you don’t have to worry about it. Check out this article that gives you advice on how to choose the best storage units near you.

3. Apply/Renew Your Passport

Before you can start to sort out any necessary visa requirements, you will need to make sure that you have a valid passport. If you don’t have a passport, then you need to apply for one as soon as possible as the application process can take some time.

Some countries also require you to have a passport that is valid for at least another six months before your travel date. If you don’t have a return date set, but later want to arrange a visit back and your passport has run out, then you can renew it at a U.S Embassy or consulate abroad.

4. Check the Visa Requirements

It is important that you check the visa requirements for the country you want to move to before you make any other arrangements. You may find that to qualify for a visa you must have a clear criminal record or a certain amount of money in your bank account. For example, if you are moving to the UK to study, then you will be required to provide a copy of a letter from the university that is offering you a place on their courses. A visa to study in the UK will also require proof that you can support yourself financially during the duration of your studies.

It may also be necessary for you to set up an appointment at a U.S homeland security department to submit information to support your application.

5. Consider Your Healthcare Options

It is important that you consider how you will access healthcare if you ever need it. You will be likely to encounter the healthcare system in the country you are moving to at some point, even if just for a routine appointment with a doctor.

You should investigate what your current healthcare provider already covers for you while you are abroad, and if your plan doesn’t cover international treatment, then you should consider looking around for a different plan. You may find that this is more expensive, but it is necessary to ensure that you are protected while you are abroad.

If you are already on medication, then you need to sort out how accessible your prescriptions will be when you are abroad, and if they will be covered by your insurance plan. Furthermore, you should ensure that you speak to a healthcare professional about your plan to move abroad and inquire about any immunizations you will need before traveling.

6. Save as Much as You Can

Moving abroad can be very expensive, so it is important that you save up as much money as you can beforehand. You should consider all the different expenditures that come with moving, as well as any start up costs you will come across. These expenditures should include plane tickets, housing, spending money, and the price of having your possessions moved abroad.

No matter how much you prepare and plan your finances in advance to moving, you are still likely to come across some unanticipated costs, so try to make sure you have some money set aside just in case.

7. Learn the Language

You will find that moving your life abroad is a whole lot easier if you know some basics of the language. Communicating with the locals is essential if you want to assimilate and feel at home in your new country. Most countries tend to use English as a second language too, but even knowing the basic phrases can go a lot way when you are trying to buy some milk from your new local shop!

While moving abroad can be daunting and stressful, by being organized and following these helpful steps, you can be fully prepared to make the most out of the experience of a lifetime.