So you want to live in Italy: Things to think about before you Move
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Through a series of events within the last year I have come to one well known conclusion, life is short. It's far too short to spend stuck behind a desk doing a job that has no personal meaning. That's not to say my job is horrible by any means. I work with nice people and for nice people, but I'm restless and life moves to quickly for 'nice'. So I've decided to take the step and do something that I've wanted to do since I was a teenager. Move to Italy.
I first went to Florence when I was 19 for a semester abroad. It was one of the best experiences of my life and something I highly recommend to anyone in University. It surpassed any and all expectations I had and has left me with a need to go back ever scene. I had sworn when I left that I would be back. I just never imagined it'd take over ten years.
For the next several weeks I will be blogging about my experiences in trying to move abroad and the steps that go into getting everything ready. I'll go over fiances, including how much to plan on bringing with you, as well as visa's and trip prep. While this series will be geared toward Italy, these ideas can be applied to any foreign move.
There are some basic things you should consider when planning to move overseas:
1. What do you want? If you're like me and want to free yourself from the 9-5, the most important thing to figure out is what kind of experience you want to have. Personally I plan on taking LOTS of side trips. These include both within Italy as well as neighboring countries. For me this means I most likely won't be stationed in one location for the whole time. I'd like to explore different regions to see what city fits me best.
2. Where do you want to Live? Are you a city person or a country person? If you like cities understand that they will be more expensive where as smaller towns can save you money on rent. Are you going to have a car or motorbike? This will determine if country living is even possible.
3. Planning things out. Also if you're anything like me you have to plan to have visitors throughout the year. In my family as soon as someone says they're going somewhere a calendar needs to be passed out so everyone can get their visit in. My friends are no different, which usually works out rather nice for me. Between visits and excursions I never have a chance to get home sick while living abroad.
4. Give yourself time. One of the most important things to consider while planning your move is how much time you're going to give yourself before you move. I know it's not exactly what you want to think about once you've decided to go, but it really is important to get everything in order before hand. Think of it as saving for the long haul, I'm trying to give myself the longest amount of time possible to stay abroad so this requires some serious planning.
Originally I gave myself one year to save up enough money that I would feel comfortable living without an income for a year. A year to pay off my credit cards and figure out what to do with my student loans. Make no mistake, this required some serious penny pinching but has been well worth it. I've been able to bump up my expected travel date from September of 2018 to May of 2018.
5. Look into things to do. Something to consider while living in a foreign country is to take a class. If you don't speak the langue this can be a great opportunity to learn it! It also gives you something to do a couple days a week that can help you not only get to know people, but make every day life a little easier. It might also be nice to look into other types of classes as well. Maybe take an art class in Italy or France, or cooking classes for that matter. Study ancient history in Greece or take ski lessons in Switzerland. The possibilities are endless!
6. Meet some Expats. Joining an expat group is another great way to get to know people in the city you'll be living in. These communities offer a wide verity of activities and meet ups with people in the same position. I've mentioned a couple in my post 'The Ultimate Guide on How to Spend the Holidays Overseas' that I'll be using.
7. Do your research. Books like 'Living, Studying, and Working in Italy' by Travis Neighbor Ward and Monica Larner, are great resources to start with. This book is often refereed to as one of the best resources for people who want to live in Italy. It is a little out dated at this point but if you've never been to Italy long term it has some useful information. Expats in Italy is a great resource for all things living in Italy. They offer articles about what it's like to live and work there as well as an expat 'crags list' type of exchange. They have a great article about renting in Italy that you can find here.
As always I'd love to hear from those that have done similar moves! I feel these experiences are best when shared so feel free to share the good, the bad and the ugly.