So last week, I quite literally did what people write about doing when an election doesn’t go their way or they remember a vacation on Instagram: I packed one bag and moved to a new country.
Yes, one bag. I quite literally got rid of everything I owned and started over. I used to have a full home, a whole closet, a car, electronics, etc. And now it’s all gone. It’s just me and exactly what I need in a whole new world.
I’m an American recent graduate with no corporate experience but I managed to secure an income and a visa that got me here to Barcelona, Spain.
It’s not nearly as difficult and daring as you think, trust me. Dropping everything is not just for the super wealthy or crazy anymore. There are so many opportunities online and abroad that require skills you already have.
You absolutely have the power to change your world and experience a different path from what you’ve been told to follow. Once you find the open door, pack up your bag and go!
Here’s exactly how I did it:
1. Choose your new world:
When it came to picking Barcelona to move to, it was based on more than just work. I made sure I was making a good lifestyle choice as well. Your experience can be so different in certain cities depending on if their culture fits your lifestyle desires. For me, I wanted temperate weather like I loved about California with a very social atmosphere and coastal location. Barcelona covered all this for me. Obviously, I could look up things like weather, location, amenities, etc. But finding out the social and cultural atmosphere of a city is a bit harder. There are some great resources for finding out information on the more intangible aspects. Check out some of the tools from Teleport.org for narrowing down your perfect city.
They have an awesome tool called “Cities” that narrows down your perfect location based on personal preference across a range of aspects.
2. Scope the job market:
I’ve had friends move to cities without finding a job first, but I wouldn’t recommend this without a significant financial buffer for a good 8-10 months. I would search ahead of time and at least have interviews/second interviews lined up before you arrive. You never know how long the hiring process in some places may take before experiencing it yourself. I will say, I found my job in a startup and, as with anything with startups, it was really quick. Just a phone call. Before searching simplify your resume (or CV) to display your most diverse and transferable skills. Search hundreds of jobs in cities across the world at visaok.in for the newest opportunities.
3. Determine what salary you need and how your skills stack up for negotiating:
It’s important to know how your lifestyle will change moving overseas. For instance, I knew some things in Spain cost me significantly less than in New York so the numbers didn’t shock or deter me. I was also able to negotiate because my skill set was in demand for many of the startups and there few like me over here. You may be able to “market” yourself better at certain companies. As always, many companies appreciate an international perspective, both abroad and back at home. Trust me, this move will only help to boost your qualification!
4. Find a new living space
There are very different living situations that are popular in cities across the world. For instance, it’s very uncommon for young people to live alone in Barcelona. And not just because of price, which can be affordable compared to many cities. I decided to move into a big flat with roommates around my same age and life stage so I would immediately have a social group to settle into my city with. Trust me, having a personal connection right off the bat helps immensely with building a new home away. But, to each their own!
You can either rent right away or there’s a little trick I suggest if you’d like to look around a bit before signing a lease: Airbnb Sublets. You can try an area for a month or two while you search for something more permanent! I did this and it was a great decision to figure out my perfect neighborhood.
5. Get involved
So now that you’ve got your job and living logistics sorted, time to create your new social network. This can be particularly difficult if you don’t speak the language but even then, I still managed to make lifelong friends in Spain and learn so much. Some great ways to get connected are Meetup, language classes, tech meetups, and networking events for your occupation. You’ll likely meet a big mix of people both local and doing exactly what you’re doing!
Now that you’re set, one more tip: studentuniverse.com for your one way flight! If you’re under 26, you can get major discounts. Buying a one way flight across the world is the most bizarre feeling!
Those are my top tips for making the big move! I’m two weeks in and I have never been happier about a decision I’ve made. The hardest part is having the confidence to make the move.