Get Ready to Move Overseas


With a successful recruiting fair under your belt it’s time to head overseas. But not so fast! There are loads of loose ends to tie up before departure time, some of which border on the ‘impossible to accomplish’ list once you’ve left home.

We’re all well aware that an overseas move is far-&-away more complex than just planning for a 2-week vacation. Still, many an International Educator has landed on foreign soil only to realize they failed to make adequate arrangements for managing their home-based responsibilities from afar. Two years away from home demands planning, & neglecting to do so can carry some hefty consequences. I lost my house through a snail mail forwarding snafu! It was a lesson hard learned. But rest assured: Disasters can be avoided with proper planning.

We all take daily commitments & responsibilities for granted such as our car, house, pets, student loans, credit card/mortgage payments, taxes, health insurance, utility bills, cable, internet/mobile phone contracts, medications & health care, getting cash from ATMs & keeping in touch with aging parents/grandparents who perhaps don’t text. If you’ve ever tried to manage any of these from out-of-country, you quickly learned “it ain’t easy”, especially with the recent regulation of financial institutions in an effort to prevent international money laundering–just try making changes to your U.S. bank account or mortgage payment from Egypt!

Beyond the sheer logistics of managing the specifics of daily responsibilities from a distance, some educators must take into account a new addition to the family while overseas. Parenting/adopting as a single person &/or parenting a special needs child are all-important elements of our lives to consider & plan for well in advance.

Over the years ISR has created many Articles & Blogs populated with the Comments of experienced International Educators who’ve transposed their lives to overseas locales. We invite you to visit the ISR Articles & Information Archives where you’ll find Articles & Blogs related to just about every aspect of making the leap into overseas living. We know you’ll agree: There’s much to be learned from those who have gone before.

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11 thoughts on “Get Ready to Move Overseas

  1. Make a copy of important documents and either store them on the cloud or hide them in your overseas apt. so if you lose the originals or have them stolen, you can get them replaced easily (college diplomas, marriage certificate, passport, driver’s license, teaching license, visa/resident card, birth certificate).


  2. Research the country you are going to, the school and the local culture thoroughly.
    Keep a bank account open in your home country (very important).
    Keep good relations with a family member so you can transfer and wire monies back home when needed.
    Send a monthly email to your family members.
    If you are from a country where voting is compulsory take yourself off the electoral roll as this can lead to significant fines and in some cases a criminal record. If you want to still vote when living abroad keep in mind that you often have to travel to a designated, central office to vote and this can be quite a problem.
    Design a contact document that includes all your details abroad, banking details and copies of your passport and visa. Periodically update this and resend this to relatives. This is very important and may help you a lot in politically unstable countries.
    Ensure you have the account details for some family members so that they can pay bills on your behalf and you can simply wire money electronically later.
    Power of Attorney is a good idea.
    My opinion only. Young teachers who have very little assets in their home country tend to have a much more stress free lifestyle abroad. The only thing they need to sort out is periodically paying their college tuition. If you are older, and part of a couple, and have a number of assets in your home country you can run into problems, even paying simple bills.


  3. Moving long term overseas is one the top three most stressful situations you can place yourself in. Only going through a divorce and/or a death of a loved one can beat it in terms of likely stress.


  4. If you are married, make sure you have official copies of your marriage certificate. It is expensive, difficult, and time-consuming to order them from abroad. We made that mistake… twice!


  5. Be especially careful if you are a for instance, a long term resident of a second country, (in my case Finland) then move abroad to a country (Tanzania) other than your home country (UK in my case.). Check carefully whom you should inform in that 2nd country (eg social services, magistrate, tax office, bank, insurance) as well as your home country. Otherwise, when you return to the second country you might experience some unanticipated problems!!!!!!!! Never ever think “it’ll be alright”. No, double check everything!

    But the biggest mistake I EVER made (please don’t do this!) was to close my UK bank account as I started my teaching career abroad. Now, 20 years later, I find myself unable to open a bank account in my birth country UK, so, while considering a brief spell doing supply teaching in UK, I was told no supply agency would put me on their books without a UK bank account!!! However I still hold open bank accounts in 7 other countries!

    Finally: you can never do TOO much online research into the place you are going, before you leave!!!


  6. Make sure anytHing you put into storage is packaged correctly; we found paintings and fabrics ruined by mould because moisture control stuff hadn’t been packed in with the. Make a will!!! Even if you don’t own your home, and are quite young, accidents can happen and you want folks to know how to dispose of your possessions. Discussing arrangements re cremation or repatriation of your abode to your home country should really be discussed. A Health Directive in case of tragedy is also a good idea. These may sound morbid, but the trauma of dealing with death overseas leaves little energy for organising.
    And most importantly, enjoy the challenge and reward of living in a different culture!!


  7. Largely, the arrangements you make will depend on the stage in your life that you choose to “jump ship” from your home country…I escaped at 51, with a tonne of experiences & 3 adult children behind me – it was easier. I’m full of admiration for those intrepid souls carting small children overseas, or giving birth in foreign hospitals where little English is spoken. My main focus was financial – my husband has POA for everything, a hard lesson learned after I tried to use my UK debit card in Qatar and EVERYTHING shut down on me within minutes, bank-wise. My most surprising discovery is medical care…when I go home for a job lot of my regular meds, my GP gets all sniffy about “non-doms using the NHS when they feel like it”. Well, hello, I’m still a tax payer and I pay for all my prescriptions!


  8. I had my brother take care of everything with a power of attorney. One thing I did not anticipate was a friend that broke in and was living there. My neighbors and brother did not catch him. He came and left at night. Very sneaky. At least he did not steal anything except electricity.


  9. Get your local and national police checks done. I recommend at least 3 copies and have them notarized. Look around for who can take your fingerprints: some police stations do it for teachers at no charge and others, well… But these will prove important for every step of your int’l teaching career.


  10. By all means get a legal Power of Attorney, done by a lawyer, to assign authority to act in your behalf in financial matters, to a trusted parent, relative, or friend who is willing to help. You can define the POA to be as wide or narrow as you wish. Over the 18 years I’ve been teaching overseas my father has gone into my bank for me many times with a POA and paid bills, written checks for me, transferred funds… Also, if you can, get as many debts paid off as you can and make arrangements for the others.


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