What You Should Know Before Immigrating To Another Country
Migrating to another country is a very challenging move, and if you are not prepared it can bring confusion and be very disruptive to your life life. It is very difficult to empty your house and pack everything to leave the only country you have known all your life…moving into the unknown is a difficult task, which is why you need preparation to reduce stress especially if you have children. When I left my country to move to Australia, it was the most difficult time of my life. Saying farewell to my mother was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, looking at my mother’s face I felt like I was being drained of oxygen.
There will be many questions in your mind about whether this was a right decision or not…What will happen to my mother without me and will I be able to afford the trip to come back to see her? However, looking at my children I know I made the right decision because of good Medicare, a good education system and the chance for them to go to college and be successful. I knew that God had given us a chance of life time – to take my children to a country with a better life for them. This was my motivation and my focus in all my trials which followed my life.
A few months before you migrate, there are a few items you need to prepare for:
- Be in touch with the visa issuing office to make sure that they have all the documents needed to issue your visas. Ask questions like what is the status of the processes. Assuming that the office has supplied you with the schedule of the steps in the process. Have that copy in front of you when you call the office to make sure you are both on the same page. When you send the documents make sure you keep copies of them and your cover letter to show the date when you sent them. Most of the time visa offices will not acknowledge receipt of your documents, they have hundreds of applications, so you need to take it upon yourself to call and make sure they acknowledge all the documents you have sent and ask them when they will process your documents. Let them know you will be calling back to check the status. This can be very hard, especially when you are in a third world where phones are hard to get and it’s hard to get through. I was lucky because I had a phone in my house, and I ended up with very huge bills, but it was worth it because the process would have taken longer than normal if I had not been checking.
- As soon as you find out your visa applications are in the last stage, at this time all your documents have been accepted, you need to start deciding which are the best states and cities you want to migrate to. For me and my family, we were given the city, we did not have a choice.
- You want to go to places where there is less crime, and suitable for raising your children.
- Initially when we moved to another country we tried to avoid large cities and opted for small ones with less confusion.
- Check the seasons to determine whether it is cold or warm. This will help you determine the kind of clothing you need for you and your children.
- I also checked for agencies which give warm clothes for children and blankets. We were given warm blankets and clothes for our children.
- You want to check the schools, find out from the embassy of the country you are migrating to how your kids’ current education will be converted into the country you are migrating to. I had 4 children; I had to understand how they would be placed. My two older children were not happy to hear that they would likely to be placed into a year behind from where they were currently. The two younger ones did not care because they did not quite understand.
- In order for you to determine the location for schools, you need to look into housing agencies because you will need this type of housing upon arriving, and you will have little or no money to rent an apartment. When you locate the housing agencies try to get the phone numbers and call them to understand how it works. I called a couple of these before we left our country to understand where they were located; how far they are from public schools and transportation. Can the children walk to school? You will definitely want housing which is closer to schools. Some of them helped and suggested certain areas and gave me contact numbers for people responsible for allocating the houses. Also look for churches, some of them are involved in helping migrants and refugees and in many cases you do not even have to belong to their faith. They can even find cheaper housing for the family. They are a very good source to help with clothes and food. I was told that some families can help with supplies like soap and food.
- Check public transportation, how often do they run, what are they, buses/trains? It is good to have both. The first few months you should be prepared to walk or take public transportation. Once the children are settled into the schools, it’s time to begin looking for jobs. My husband and I agreed to let me stay at home initially until the children were settled before I went work. However, I was still looking just to know what types of jobs were out there and what kind of qualifications they looked for. My husband found a job, not paying all that much, but it enabled us to move into our own apartment. That was the happiest day of my life.
- Understand what it means to have a car. The most difficult thing about this is having insurance to allow you to drive the car. Even if you can afford a car, you may not have enough money to pay for the insurance to drive. It would be better to start saving a little money when you are still in your country. We did not have enough time to save money and on top of that, it is very hard to save money in a country which supports extended family system. Look for cheaper affordable insurance and search anywhere where that helps immigrants.
- Check for which type of health care coverage you do and your family qualifies for and what does it mean for your family. How much out of pocket will be required and how much can you afford. At this point you have looked into important items you need to survive. Now you are ready to go and start a new life.
- The last and very important step which I wished I had done is to carry the memories with me. What I mean by this is if you can afford the camera, take pictures of all the houses you have lived in and where all your children were born. Then take pictures of your siblings and all your close extended family. If possible take pictures of the best country land marks and all the areas you stayed when you were growing up. I found out many new buildings have replaced all the places I knew and I cannot remember where all those are. The houses I lived in were renovated and changed completely. I felt sad because there were so many memories and I could not remember how my house looked. I did not keep memories…they are all gone. Most of my cousins I grew up with are dead and have no pictures to remember them with. Keep the memories alive when you leave your countries. VERY important…
Because I have personally experienced immigrating to a new country and because of my Life coaching skills, I can help you get settled and adjusted in your new life – you can call me at 425-879-1677 or email me from my Contact Form.