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Hello and welcome to another video for the British Council’s LearnEnglish Teens website and their YouTube channel. I’m Molly, and in today’s video I wanted to give you seven tips for moving abroad. Moving abroad is a really, really exciting opportunity, but it can also be daunting and a bit overwhelming. I’m from the UK but I have now moved abroad twice to live in other countries. Last year I went to Spain, to Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, to study at the university there for four months. And more recently, a month ago I moved to Río Cuarto in Argentina, to work as an English language assistant for the British Council. Because of these two experiences, I feel like I know a bit about the process now of moving abroad, and I wanted to share some advice, some things that I have learned, with you guys.
My first tip is to be organised. I can’t stress enough how important organisation is! It’s so important to make a note of any deadlines you might have, so any applications or any documents you need to submit. Make sure you know when you need to do all these important things. You should also save all your important emails and other documents that you might have in folders on your computer, and remember to back these up. And my most important piece of advice is: do not leave things until the last minute. Make sure you know well in advance when you’re going to need to submit things, if you need to go to places, if anything needs signing or posting – make sure you are on top of your deadlines and do things as soon as you can to avoid stress in the long term.
My second tip is to be proactive. If at any point in the process of organising yourself to move abroad you have a question or you’re unsure about something, you need to find the relevant person and email them or, even better, give them a call. Under the umbrella of being proactive, I also think it’s really important to try and reach out and utilise your networks. You should ask around and try and get in contact with people who have been through your experience. And, linked to that, if you can find any contacts in the country that you’re going to, then that can be extremely helpful. If you can find somebody who can meet you at the airport, for example, or show you around your new city, or maybe even help you find accommodation, any of these things can really, really help you when you’re moving to somewhere that you don’t really have any familiarity with.
My third tip is to be patient. Although, as I’ve said, it’s a really good idea to be organised and be proactive, sometimes administration and paperwork can just take time and there’s nothing you can really do about it.
So, those are my first three pieces of advice: to be organised, to be proactive and to be patient. So those things are maybe more general. Now I want to talk about four more-specific areas that you’re going to have to negotiate if you move abroad. And the first of these is entry requirements. It’s really important to make sure that your passport, or whatever document that you’re going to be travelling with, is valid and up to date. Depending on where you’re going, you may need to apply for a visa. Important things to bear in mind with visas is that there is sometimes a cost, and I think most of the time you will need to travel to the embassy. So, I had to get a visa to come here to Argentina, and for that I had to go into London, and often times you’ll have to go more than once to hand in your passport and your application and then to collect it later.
The next thing I wanted to talk about is health. You should look online and visit your doctor four to six weeks in advance to see if there’s any vaccinations you’ll be needing for the place where you’re going to go. If you’re from Europe and you’re travelling to another place in Europe, make sure to get a EHIC card – so that’s a European Health Insurance Card. It’s free to get, and you should definitely get one and take it with you, if you can, because it will help if you are ill or injured whilst you’re abroad. Generally speaking, make sure to get insurance wherever you’re going. If you’re going to be abroad through some kind of programme, like a university placement, make sure to check to see whether your university is going to cover insurance for you or not and, if not, make sure to take out some of your own insurance. It’s just the smart thing to do.
Moving on, a really important topic: money. Moving abroad can be an expensive process, and preparing to manage your finances in another country can sometimes be a bit complicated. One thing you should definitely do is check around and see if there is any financial support available to you. So, scholarships or grants or anything like that. For example, I managed to get a Erasmus+ grant for my university placement in Spain, and this really helped me cover my living costs while I was there. Another thing to say on money is to make sure that you’re aware of any hidden costs, so this might be things to do with flights or visas or vaccinations … If you can, you should change up at least some of your money before you go, so you have enough cash to get you started when you move abroad. Also, make sure that you have enough savings in bank accounts that you can access if you need to. Finally on money, pre-pay travel cards, so, for example, Revolut, the Post Office Travel Money Card and the STA Travel ISIC CashFLEX card, can be really, really useful. You can load up these types of cards with any currency and then pay for things anywhere in the world, often with reasonable administrative fees.
The final topic I wanted to talk about today is accommodation. Depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing, it may be best to find accommodation before you go, or it may be best to wait until you get there and then start looking. Regardless, the most important thing to do is to seek out the advice of people that have been and listen to what they say. You should think about the different kinds of living options that are available to you, so this might be studio apartments, student residences, shared flats, living with a host family, or maybe any other options. And think about which one of these fit with you and your lifestyle and your budget and all of that. Websites can be really useful – when I went to Spain, I found a shared flat on one of these websites a couple of weeks before I was moving and I signed for it in advance. Very important to say: do not sign for something unless you’re absolutely sure, and often it is a very good idea to, if you can, see the place in person before you agree to something. If you decide to wait until you arrive and then look around, it’s a good idea to book yourself a hostel or an Airbnb for a few days or weeks while you figure out what the options are and where you want to live.
So, that’s it! That’s all I have for you today. I hope you found the seven tips, pieces of advice, useful and if you have any questions about moving abroad or you’d like me to make more videos of this sort in the future, please let me know in the comments below, and I will see you soon. Bye!
Worksheets and downloads
Which tips did you find useful? Would you like to live in a different country?