RELOCATION: Moving to a new country for work can be exciting and useful for your future career. But it’s not all enjoyment. The key, experts say, is to research your new home as carefully as possible.
Bikash Mathur travels a great deal for his job as head of European and Middle Eastern operations for the London-based Polaris Software . “I travel frequently to Dubai, Cairo, Eastern and Western Europe, but those are transactional trips,” Mathur told The Wall Street Journal. “A country-to-country move is really not work — it’s fun."
Mathur’s wife might not agree, however. Supriya Mathur, a financial PR consultant, has organized a number of moves for her husband and three children. “The human brain forgets very fast and there is a long list of things you have to take care of before you move,” Mrs Mathur says. “I think every expat carries a big bag of essential papers, like degrees and passports. I also use a Web space to store as much of my life as possible.”
"The help of locals is very valuable." Chrissy Richman
Supriya Mather advises that, in addition to keeping personal documents like passports safe and accessible, it is also important to think of documents related to your professional life. “Make sure all your work references are in order. Ship all your things in advance and take a fortnight off before starting the new life. Sort out some options of places to rent or buy before you move.”
Mrs Mathur is on the right track, according to experts. “Employees should research the place as much as they possibly can,” says Travis Vincent, director of security services at International SOS in London, a company that provides a range of assistance to companies and individuals relocating abroad. “They shouldn’t be completely reliant on the company for every single bit of information.”
Chrissy Richman, founder of Life Change People , a holiday retreat in Thailand, says it is important to have contact with local people. Richman moved with her family from Britain to Thailand in 2008. “We have to have Thai employees by law to have a work permit,” she explains. “One of the local men, Son, is our guide and translator. There are times when I felt like a five-year-old because things that you take for granted, like installing a phone line, become major challenges. But the help of locals is very valuable.”