Moving to Europe: Where to start?

This article provides a practical and informative guide for individuals considering a move to Europe. It explores the reasons for moving abroad, such as cultural diversity, quality of life, and travel opportunities. The article also breaks down the essential steps for a successful international move, including determining visa requirements, finding a place to live, planning finances, researching healthcare options, preparing for cultural differences, and organizing the logistics of the move. With these tips, readers can navigate the process of moving to Europe with confidence and start their new adventure on the right foot.

Maayan & Gal Founders of Smoozitive

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Smoozitive Magazine/Just Living/Moving to Europe: Where to start?

Are you considering moving to Europe? Whether it’s for work, school, or just an adventure, moving to another country can be an exciting and life-changing experience. However, it can also be a daunting and overwhelming process.

From visas to housing to cultural differences, there are many factors to consider when planning a move to Europe. In this article, we’ll break down the steps you need to take to make your international move as smooth and stress-free as possible.

If you've been asking yourself how to move to another country , this guide is for you.

Why Moving abroad? And why to Europe?​

Cultural Diversity and Rich History​

Europe is known for its rich history and diverse cultures. With 44 countries and over 200 languages spoken, there is no shortage of new experiences and adventures to be had. From the busy cities of London and Paris to the quaint villages of Italy and Greece, Europe offers a wide range of lifestyles and cultures to explore.

Quality of Life​

Many European countries consistently rank high in quality of life indexes, with factors such as healthcare, education, and safety being taken into consideration. Countries like Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands are known for their high standard of living and work-life balance.

Europeans tend to appreciate a slower pace of life compared to other parts of the world, as they prioritize finding a better balance between their work and personal lives. This cultural value reflects a desire to not let the demands of work overshadow the importance of enjoying leisure time and relationships with family and friends.

By savoring their free time and making time for relaxation and socializing, Europeans believe they can lead happier and more fulfilling lives. This emphasis on work-life balance is seen as essential for maintaining overall well-being and mental health in a society that values quality of life over constant productivity.​

Travel Opportunities​

One of the biggest perks of living in Europe is the ease of travel. With many countries being in close proximity to each other, it’s easy to hop on a train or a short flight and explore a new city or country. This makes it a great option for those who love to travel and want to see more of the world.

How to Move to Europe: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Determine Your Visa Requirement

The first step in moving to Europe is to determine your visa requirements. Depending on your country of origin and the country you plan to move to, you may need a visa to enter and stay in Europe. The type of visa you need will also depend on the purpose of your move, such as work, study, or retirement.

It’s important to research the visa requirements for your specific situation and start the application process as early as possible. Some visas can take several months to process, so it’s important to plan ahead and give yourself enough time.

Step 2: Find a Place to Live

Once you have your visa sorted, the next step is to find a place to live. This can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the country or city you’re moving to. Here are a few options to consider:​

  • Renting:
    Renting a place is probably the most popular option for those who are living abroad. Sometimes, it's best to find a short term rent on Airbnb for example, and then once you get to your location, look for a long term rent.
    Renting is not always easy for non-local people. In most countries, you will need to show documents proving that you have a steady income, that you pay taxes, and have a local bank account. Research the requirements in your country of destination, and make sure you are prepared.
    If you are moving with kids, look for the right neighborhood for you. Some are more kid-friendly than others, and this might have an impact on your school's choice as well.
  • ​Buying:
    If you’re planning to stay in Europe long-term, buying a property may be an option for you. However, the process of buying a property in Europe can be complex and may require a local lawyer or real estate agent to assist you. 
    Before you decide to buy a property, consider spending some time in the area, and see what it feels like to live in this place, before you commit.
  • Shared Accommodation:
    Another option is to find a shared accommodation, such as a flat share or a house share. This can be a more affordable option and a great way to meet new people.
    This option is becoming more and more popular. There are many platforms online such as colive values, where you can find co-living spaces. This option is great if you are moving on your own, and for digital nomads.

Step 3: Plan Your Finances

Moving overseas can be expensive, so it’s important to plan your finances carefully. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Cost of Living:
    The cost of living can vary greatly between countries and cities in Europe. It’s important to research the cost of living in your chosen destination and factor that into your budget.
  • Currency Exchange:
    If you’re moving from a country with a different currency, you’ll need to consider the cost of exchanging your money. It’s a good idea to research the best ways to exchange currency and compare rates to get the best deal.
  • ​Taxes:
    Depending on your situation, you may be subject to taxes in both your home country and your new country. It’s important to research the tax laws and regulations in your new country to avoid any surprises.

Step 4: Research Healthcare Options

Healthcare systems can vary greatly between countries, so it’s important to research your options and make sure you have adequate coverage. If you’re moving for work, your employer may provide healthcare coverage. If not, you may need to purchase private health insurance.

It’s also a good idea to research the healthcare system in your new country and familiarize yourself with any differences or requirements.

It can take some time to make the necessary adjustments, so make sure you have some insurance that can cover you until you get your local health insurance. Don't forget to take this into consideration when you are planning your budget.

Step 5: Prepare for Cultural Differences

Moving to a new country means adapting to a new culture and way of life. It’s important to research the cultural norms and customs of your new country to avoid any cultural faux pas. This can also help you prepare for any potential culture shock and make the transition smoother.

Step 6: Plan Your Move

Once you have all the logistics sorted, it’s time to plan your move. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Shipping:
    If you’re planning to bring your belongings with you, you’ll need to research shipping options and costs. It’s important to plan this well in advance to avoid any delays. Shipping your belongings overseas might take a few months, so it's best to be prepared for this situation.​
  • ​Packing:
    Moving to another country means packing up your life and deciding what to bring and what to leave behind. It’s a good idea to declutter and only bring what you really need. If you are moving with your family, make sure you bring important items for everyone. For some it can be a loved doll or toy, for others it can be a photo album or a book. It's very personal. If you are not sure what to pack or how, you can read about it here. 
  • Travel Arrangements:
    If you’re moving out of the country, it’s important to book your flights in advance to get the best deals. You may also need to arrange for transportation from the airport to your new home. 

Tips for a Smooth Transition

Learn the Language​

Learning the local language can make a huge difference in your experience living in Europe. Not only will it help you communicate with locals, but it can also make everyday tasks like grocery shopping and navigating public transportation much easier.

Learning a new language is not the easiest thing. Start by learning a couple of words and sentences that will actually be helpful when you move. You don't need to have all grammar and vocabulary sorted out in order to start speaking.

Connect with Other Expats​

Moving to a new country can be lonely, especially if you don’t know anyone. Connecting with other expats can help you feel less alone and provide a support system as you navigate your new home. You can join expat groups on social media or attend local events and meetups.

Of course you can do this only once you move, but it can be helpful to connect with a couple of people who already experienced what you are about to.

One Last Thing... 

Moving to Europe can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following these steps and tips, you can make the transition smoother and start your new life in Europe with confidence. Remember to plan ahead, do your research, and be open to new experiences. Bon voyage!

Maayan & Gal Founders of Smoozitive

Maayan & Gal
Founders of Smoozitive

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