Guest post: Top tips for moving to Europe
Have you ever dreamt of moving to Europe? There are so many benefits to spending some time living abroad, and Europe is becoming an ever popular location. According to the Guardian, 30,000 UK students went abroad to study in 2013, and the Institute for Public Policy Research estimated there were 5.5 million Brits living abroad by 2006, that figure is likely to have increased.
And why wouldn’t you want to? You get to meet new people, learn about a new way of life, try exciting new foods and learn another language. Europe is a popular destination for many British people thanks to its close proximity to the UK, better weather conditions and ease of access. Not to mention the delicious food and wine and the warm and welcoming people. Moving to Europe might be a distant dream for some, but if you’re ready to make this a reality, there are a few steps you need to take.
Make sure your paperwork is in place
Moving to a new country often comes with a fair share of red tape. Make sure you have the original versions of all your documents, plus spare photocopies just in case. Although still a member of the EU (for now!), you will need to register with the local council to let them know you’re taking up residence in the area. If you are moving from outside the EU, it’s probably a good idea to check with a reputable immigration service to make sure you meet the requirements.
Get health coverage before you need it
You won’t have access to the NHS while you’re in other European countries but fear not, as the French medical system is among the best in the world. You should make sure your European Health Insurance Card is up to date to cover you until you acquire private insurance. There are many articles to help you find the right health insurance policy for you.
Get a head start on learning the language
If the languages you learnt at school are a little rusty, you might want to freshen up your lingo with an intensive language course. You’re more likely to be able to fit in and make new friends if you make an effort with the language and it will be invaluable when it comes to dealing with practical things like shopping, renting a house or opening a bank account. Join a course at a local college, hire a private tutor, buy a language learning book, or even use an app. There are so many ways to improve your language skills, and even making just a little bit of effort can go a long way.
Start making friends before you arrive
Moving to a new place can be daunting at the best of times, particularly if you don’t speak the language fluently, and you have to learn about a whole new way of life. Start making friends before you leave by joining groups on MeetUp, talking to your future work colleagues and researching local sport teams and social clubs you can join. Although you will be busy settling into your new life, make sure you make time to socialise and get to know your new area.
Have you moved away to a new Europe in recent years? I’d love to hear your tales and tips!