Monday, May 14, 2012

Help when you're moving abroad

Map courtesy of

Moving to a new international location brings with it a wide array of emotions.  For me, excitement always comes first.  I sit down with a map and look at all of the cool places I'll be able to easily visit from our new home.  For us it doesn't seem like there should be much more involved.  We've always moved with a work contract in place and the company takes care of all the details from visas to shipping containers to helping secure an apartment.

The thing is though, once I've spent about five minutes coming up with locations for future trips the reality of moving and life abroad sinks in again.  Questions that I can't be calling the company's relocation people with every five minutes start popping into my head.

What do things like groceries/wine/eating out cost there?  What's a realistic monthly budget?
What is the public transportation like?  Are we going to need a car?
Is there adequate medical care available if necessary?
In what area of town should we live?
As far as local cable and satellite dishes go, will I be able to pick up US and/or UK channels?

Our move to Prague in 2008 was simple.  We'd both lived in the city before and knew exactly what to expect.  We knew what things cost, already had a network of friends, and knew which neighborhoods would be good for us and which wouldn't.  Moving to Switzerland was easy enough.  We weren't prepared for the drastic rise in our cost of living, but settling in and getting acclimated was fine.  However, despite already having two big international moves under my belt, when we found out we were coming to KL I was thrown for a loop.  Moving to Asia seemed like such a bigger deal than moving to or within Europe.  Europe I knew, Asia I didn't.

So I turned to the internet and came across expat-blog.  It was there I was able to find the blogs of a couple different expats living in KL through whom I was able to find the answers to my country and area specific moving questions.  Expat-blog has a directory of over 11,000 blogs in 206 countries.  If you're moving or thinking about it chances are you can find someone who has the information you're looking for there.  In addition to the blog directory, they've just added two new sections to the site dedicated to expat jobs and housing so you may very well find what you're looking for directly on the site.  It's an invaluable source of information and well worth checking out.


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