Expat Interview: Planning a Move Abroad
Posted by Dannielle Noonan
Alexandria from A Modern Girl's Travels tells the Medibroker team about her upcoming mystery move abroad, and reveals which aspects of moving overseas are the most stressful! Alexandria's husband is being relocated through his company and she is studying to teach English abroad as the couple make the transition into expats. This is a familiar expat story, and here Medibroker asked the blogger a few questions in the run up to her exciting move into the unknown!
Hey Alexandria! Tell us about where you’re from, where you have lived previously and where you live now.
I am from the suburbs of Georgia and I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2016, you’ll be making the transition into becoming expats. Where will you be moving to?
Well, that is tough to say. My husband’s company has offices in Stockholm, Sweden, Amsterdam, Netherlands, London, United Kingdom, Helsinki, and Finland. So, it really just depends which office has an opening at the moment. However, there have also been talks about him just working remotely and, in that case, we would be able to choose wherever we live and we would move to Heidelberg, Germany.
What has influenced your decision to move abroad?
I have always had a passion for travel. Growing up my father taught me it was more important to have experiences than possessions and it is a lesson that has been instilled in me ever since. Travel is a part of my blood. I think living abroad for a while will give my husband and I the capabilities of broadening our horizons, becoming more patient and tolerant people while experiencing other cultures.
How do you plan to earn a living abroad?
Well, my husband works in technology and will have his Master’s degree in Spring 2016. I will have my degree in Public Policy with a concentration in Human Resources and Non-Profits. In the United States, I work a lot with non-profit organizations that focus on children such as the Make A Wish Foundation and the American Cancer Society. I would love to work with such organizations abroad like the Red Cross or other similar entities. But, for now, I am getting my TEFL certification.
How have people reacted when you tell them you are moving abroad?
Most people are shocked by our decision to move abroad. They are a bit taken back at first and most hope it will not come to fruition.
What part of expat life are you most excited about?
I am excited to immerse myself into a new culture and language, spend my free weekends on the train visiting other countries, and soaking it all up. I am a huge history buff, so I am excited to unlock all the secrets that Europe has to offer me.
What kind of research have you done for your move?
I have researched the best countries for expats, which is why I would prefer for us to move to Germany. I have also looked into if there are any quarantines for our animals when we bring them over. I know that we need to talk with an accountant before we leave so we can get our taxes set up properly and I know how to effectively file while we are abroad.
I also have looked into whether it would be more cost effective to rent a place that is furnished or to ship over our own furniture (I have also contacted shipping companies to get quotes). I have not really looked into insurance or visa issues considering all of that will be taken care of through my husband’s company. I guarantee you that much more research has gone into this move but I feel like those are all the important things to mention.
Which aspects of planning are the most stressful for you?
I have not had to look into insurance or visa options considering that will all be taken care of by my husband’s company, so I was lucky on that end. I think the most stressful thing is actually getting the process started, deciding how long you’ll be gone, and whether or not you should sell all of your things, put them in a storage unit, or bring them with you.
It’s also really stressful thinking about bringing our animals over because you hear about horror stories of animals passing away in the luggage storage on the plane. I am also a bit worried about the language because I am a bit shy and am afraid of saying something wrong and people being irritated with me.
What is the healthcare like in your expat location?
Oh, I don’t even know where to start. The United States has one of the most complex healthcare systems. Each company or each person can choose their own healthcare company and healthcare plan. However, as you may know, we now have Obamacare; which is still being worked out. There is no equality in America’s healthcare system.
Will you be buying health insurance?
We will be provided healthcare through my husband’s company, but if for some reason he chooses to leave his position, we will purchase our own health insurance.
Tell us about your blog!
A Modern Girl’s Travels is a lifestyle and travel blog and its purpose is for me to document my travels from the past, present, and future. I also wanted to begin keeping a log of my husband and I’s transition into expat lives. The blog will also serve as a way for our family and friends to keep up with our day to day lives, now, and while we are abroad.
If, like Alexandria and her husband, you are moving abroad for a job or any other reason; it's important that you have comprehensive health cover. Read more about why you need international medical cover when you're living abroad or contact our team and we'll call you to discuss your options. We are completely independent, 100 % free and we are regulated in the UK by the FCA.
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