Plan your moving to another country
I can't believe how time flies, but on 25 of March we will be celebrating 1 year since we moved to Copenhagen. We got used so fast to the new life, and we love this city so much, that it feels like we always lived here. We furnished our home, things already have their "own usual place" in the house, we explored the city and areas around it, we learned how to bike everywhere and we met some beautiful people. Yet, we still have to work on socialising more, because making new friends is not easy, especially if you are married, you don't have a child or a dog 🙂
When our friends ask us how are we, how we adjust to the new life, the answer is always the same: better than we planed. What shocks me is the fact that most of them expect to hear that the transition was very difficult, that we are suffering from homesick, that we can not adapt and, basically, that things are bad. I don't know if they do that because they are so attached to their home country that they can't imagine living somewhere else or because they don't understand that happiness comes from inside and we can take it with us and be happy no matter where we live.
Of course, our transition was easy because we planned our move in a very smart way. So, today I have some tips for those of you who are planning to follow their dreams and move to another country. These are the things you have to consider before moving, for an easy start in your new life:
1. Save some money.
This is the best advice I can give you. You could do with withe less, but if you want a smooth transition, you need some cash. Some of the expenses you have to consider are: plane tickets, transport for your personal belongings, accommodation until you find something permanent. When you will rent, you will need to pay in advance 3 months deposit + the 3 last months + first month. This means 7 months of rent, from which 6 will be locked until the end of the contract.
2. Inform yourself of the rental market
A very important thing to take in consideration, especially if you move to a bigger city, were thousands of expats are coming every month, like Copenhagen. The biggest challenge for us was to find an apartment. We started looking 2 months prior the moving, we online from back home, the agency from here. IT is not only about the very expensive rents (just to have an idea, a room in a shared apartment is between 800-1000 euro), but also the low availability.
The reason I recommend you to work with an agency are the very frequent situations of fraud, when a fake owner disappears with the deposit and advance money, or that situations when the tenants sign a contract in danish, not so favourable for them (when your landlord can change the rent from one month to another, you have to pay for reparations that are not your responsibility, etc)
3. Inform about documents, registration and bureaucratic stuff.
For example in DK you have 5 days since arriving to register for CPR (Civil Personal Registration). Without it you can't do anything: you need it to buy a phone card, to open a bank account, to receive you salary, to make a gym membership, they ask for it at the pharmacy, hospital, etc. To make a CPR, you need an address, so you should already have a rental contract signed. More details here.
Another important thing is to check what are the taxes, just to have an idea what money you will take home at the end of the month. Unfortunately, in Denmark you will know for sure only after receiving you first salary, because taxation takes in consideration a lot of different aspects: salary, job benefits, children, if you wife works, etc. But there are some sites that can help you to understand better (here, here, here). Anyway, the taxes are between 37% and 53%.
4. Carefully plan whet personal belonging are you taking with you
I know you need all your clothes, decorations an stuff like that. But you could try to live without it, at least for a while. You have to take in consideration not only the transportation from your home country to the place you are moving, but also transportation costs if you need to change accommodation often and also space limitations. For example we paid 900 euro for transporting 9 boxes and 2 bikes from Bucharest to Copenhagen.
5. Check the climate, culture, language and other expenses
I left all these in the end, but probably these are the first things you have to check. Make sure you can adapt to the climate of the country, take in consideration that if you don't speak the language it will be more difficult to find a job outside the corporations and even to make new friends. Check how much transportation costs and what are the costs for owning a car. For example, a few days ago in an expats Facebook group, a guy from America was asking for advice, because he brought his car to DK without knowing the registration taxes (which are between 150% and 180% in Denmark). So now he had a car for which he paid to bring it here, no money for registration or to get rid of the car.
To summarise, try to make a list with al the compromises you are willing to make, then make a top with you priorities and start to tick them, to be sure that the country you are moving to can offer what you are hoping for. Moving to another country can be easy and fast, if you plan and organise it well, like we did. Of course, it would be preferably to find a job before moving, because it might take months, especially if you have another specialisation than IT. But I am sure you thought about this already.
All I can wish you know is to follow your dreams, to make the good decisions and to embrace changes, because changes are good.
Photo credit: rawpixel.com, via Unsplash