The dream of going to cooking school in France, learning to paint in Italy, or relaxing on the beaches in Spain, has many people wanting to drop everything and move abroad to Europe. Maybe you have already taken a big step and said “I’m packing my bags and buying a one-way flight” or maybe its still just a thought you have after a stressful day at work. Either way, moving abroad to Europe can be one of the most memorable and exciting experiences to have in a life time. After living in Europe myself now for 1 and a half years, my suggestion is don’t hold back and just do it! You will thank yourself when you could be walking through some place like here on a daily basis
However, the dream of sipping lattes daily in a Parisian cafe may need to come with a disclaimer. Your experience may not be all crumpets and scones and will come with a bit of work. There are some important factors to consider but with the right resources it is not at all impossible and more than 100% worth it!
First, there is the paperwork side of moving abroad. This can be the stressful part figuring out what type of Visa will allow you to stay in Europe and enjoy all it has to offer for more than three months. Then comes multiple visits to the foreigners office and filling out paperwork that may not be in English.
If you are looking for finding ways to get a European Visa, this article from one of my favorite bloggers, The Savvy Backpacker, lists out really nicely lots of different ways to stay in Europe for more than 90 days.
But besides all the paperwork, there is a European life to be lived!! The amazing things include so many wonderful cities to see and all easily accessible by train, bus, or a short flight, food that will make you never want to stop eating, and landscapes that will literally take your breath away (In my case this was the view from the highest point in Tyrol in the Austrian Alps) However, people living abroad might also have to deal with loneliness, feeling isolated especially if you don’t fluently speak the new language, and struggling with every day tasks that, at home, we didn’t have to think twice about (like say not knowing you have to weigh your produce items at many German grocery stores and then not understanding the cashier when she’s telling you to go weigh it before you can check out). Its all new and while its dreamy and wonderful, it can also be overwhelming. Today I want to focus on the social side of moving abroad. Here are my best suggestions to make your new life as happy as possible!
My first suggestion is to sign up right away for expat.com!!
They have handy tools to help you with finding a place to live, health insurance, and even getting a job! It is pretty much your one-stop-shop for everything moving abroad. The really awesome feature though is the community of members they have. You can register with where you are from and what country you now live in and connect with others who are dealing with those same daily struggles and maybe learn something from them or even make a friend. They have over 1 million members so chances are you’ll find someone else in the same city as you.
Another great way to meet people and maybe start to learn or improve on your 2nd language skills is the App Tandem. It allows you to meet locals in your area who would like to work on their 2nd language as well. Being able to speak English is a huge plus because most Europeans are always looking for ways to better their English. You can meet with them at a coffee shop or restaurant and spend time speaking first in English and then in their language. Great way to meet locals which is half of the experience and make your time easier by learning a bit of the language.
Meetup allows you to select hobbies or topics that interest you and find groups of people in your area who will meet up to do these hobbies together! In to running? Find yourself a running club. Photography? Politics? Whatever you can think of there is probably a group already started just waiting for you to join. You don’t have to let go of the things that make you you just because you moved somewhere new. Lots of these groups are very international as well and you will meet people from everywhere!
Time Out App is great if you want to find out what fun events are happening in your city. It will also recommend things to do, where to eat, and customize it all to you. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get out and explore your new city and make it feel like your city. It took me a few months before I had this feeling but, once you do, its no longer overwhelming and actually fun to go out and find new things to do 🙂
Tourlina and Backpackr
While living in Europe, you’ll probably want to do some exploring. Solo travel can be very rewarding but it can me more fun and more comfortable to travel with someone. A fun new app for females (available for iPhone and next month for Android) is Tourlina. It is set up like a dating app but is to help you meet another female travel buddy heading to the same cities as you and sharing the same interests. Backpackr is another app which allows you to meet other travelers by entering a city and date of when you’ll be there. This one is also great for budget travelers with advice on where to get good eats for cheap, local pub crawls, hostel deals, and free events in the area.
Have any other awesome recommendations that you’ve found? Share below!!
And don’t forget to pin this article for later!