In the wake of a bitter presidential campaign and Donald Trump’s huge Election Day upset, some jaded Americans say they’re considering living abroad as an option to escape all the division.
So how exactly does one go about actually becoming an American expatriate? How do you realistically secure a job and lodgings overseas? What’s it like uprooting your life in the US and starting over somewhere new?
Well, here are some things you should know before packing your bags and heading to the airport:
Know what you want
It's really important to move abroad for the right reasons.
Writing for Life Before 30, Elaina Giolando argues that it's a mistake not to know exactly what you want out of the experience before you move abroad.
Giolando, who's worked in Mongolia, South Africa, Turkey, Qatar, and Nigeria, says that it's also necessary to always keep geography in mind. Don't just gravitate toward tourist hotspots because they're popular -- look for options that are off-the-beaten path too.
As Business Insider previously reported, promising spots include China, Singapore, and Switzerland, which all boast great economic prospects for expats.
Other top locations include New Zealand and Spain, where expats live awesome lifestyles and tend to make friends easily.
Do your research
Research doesn't mean pulling up some Wikipedia pages on your preferred country's culture and customs. You've got to dig deeper if you want to live overseas for an extended period of time.
The US government actually has prepared a helpful checklist for Americans looking to travel abroad for any period of time. The Department of State also provides more specific information on different countries around the world.
Its recommendations including brushing up on local laws, figuring out your political rights as a visitor, reading up on the nation's visa and immigration laws, and contacting the local US embassy.
You also need to get your finances in order. Consider opening a local bank account and brace yourself for exchange rate fluctuations. Also, remember that, as a US citizen, you'll still need to file with the IRS and pay taxes every year.
Get a job overseas
Unless you're some sort of international billionaire, it's important to get a job to support you while you live abroad.
As part of your research, look up whether or not you need certain licensing to work in your field. Reach out to local recruiters. Do your homework on what companies and industries are on the rise in the country.
Expat Jeff Parker provides some tips on snagging a gig on his blog Expat Yourself. He notes that it's important to have a CV ready (it's similar to a résumé with more personal details, a shorter length, and a focus on education): 'Compared to American résumés, a CV is less of a self-marketing tool, and more an autobiography.'
The Expat's Info Desk reports that it's important to have a good grasp of the jobs market you'll be entering into, if you plan to obtain a job locally, as opposed to work at an international company: 'Your frame of mind will also be very important as you will need to be realistic about what is actually achievable.'
Work for a big company
If you're more risk averse and patient, consider working for an international company in order to become an expat.
As Alexandra Talty wrote for Forbes, companies like Deloitte, Edelman and UBS have international exchange programs. However, even if you've got the language skills and interest in working overseas, actually getting transferred abroad might take some time. If you take this route, be prepared to wait a bit.
Or take a smaller-scale job to get out fast
If you simply can't wait to go abroad, look into jobs that will take you out of the country fast.
Options include working for colleges' study abroad programs, teaching English in foreign countries, working on a cruise, and joining international organisations like the Peace Corps, as Corie Hengst reported for Levo League.
Find somewhere to live
Once you've got your career on lock, it's time to start thinking of lodgings.
Parker notes that you might want to lower your expectations when shopping around for a place to live overseas. Just because you're outside the US doesn't mean the cost of living will go down, and you're probably not going to be able to afford that Swiss chalet -- sorry. Try to live light and research which locations are expat-friendly.
If you're looking to purchase property, as opposed to renting, he advises closely watching the housing market and budgeting very carefully.
Because being an expat isn't just about travel. It's about finding a new home.
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