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Friday, April 25, 2014

5 Tips for Living and Working Abroad

While there is a certain allure to traveling the world and experiencing new countries and cultures, many people forget is that there is a very big difference between being a tourist and being an expat. The latter often brings more legal requirements, paperwork, responsibilities and risk. However, the rewards are great, as long as the proper steps are taken beforehand.

One of those includes acquiring adequate international insurance coverage. A long-term stay and potential employment opportunities bring a set of problems unlike those that domestic workers experience. Therefore, having the right protection in place can make life overseas more comfortable for you.

In addition to international insurance, here are five tips to live and work abroad:

1.  Do research ahead of time
Kerry Hannon, a contributor to Forbes, wrote that doing a little homework before making the move abroad can be beneficial. She explained that there are many elements that go into being an expat, such as getting visas, setting up bank accounts, taxes and the language barrier. Figuring out which country works best for you can help you find a job, open a business and live safely.

2. Go on a vacation
Before becoming an expat, you may want to take an extended vacation as a tourist, Hannon noted. This step could be exactly what you need to figure out which country is the one you want to move to. Spending several months abroad will shed light on the pros and cons of a new nation, and it will allow you to really feel confident in buying a home and taking the plunge.

3. Embrace the culture
In many countries, business etiquette is quite different than in the U.S. and the U.K. Your home country may be built upon quick meetings, rapid results and a demand for efficiency. However, that may not be the case abroad. Instead, take the time to learn the culture and embrace it. Doing so could help you find work and build a network overseas.

4. Know your rights
Rica Facundo, a contributor to Rappler, wrote that working abroad is often more complicated than the life of a tourist. It requires contracts, paperwork and permits. With that in mind, she recommended that you know your rights before moving overseas. For example, your stay could often be decided by the length of your employee contract. Once that expires, so too does your work permit. Then, you'll have to find another way to legally stay in the country.

5. Always save money
Saving money is never a bad idea, especially for expats. Facundo explained that working overseas requires a frugal mindset, even for younger adults. The job market in many countries could be volatile, which means it is smart to have a little extra cash nearby in case of emergency.

In addition, coverage - such as individual term life insurance - can help guarantee financial protection if something does go wrong. Having coverage is a good idea because it can prevent you from having to pay large expenses out of pocket, and mitigate risks while living abroad.

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