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7 things to know when moving overseas to live

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Published: 7th November 2018


Your company may have arranged a transfer for you to work in an exotic country for a period. Or you may have decided that you want to take the plunge and live in that country which has always enticed you. Before you go, check out my 7 things to know when moving overseas to work, as fore warned is fore armed, as the old saying goes.

1. It is the Internet, but not as you know it.

Most of the developed world has some type of internet access. You may be used to high quality, semi-reliable and consistent speed at your office or home. And you also may be used to complete freedom when browsing the internet. Be aware that not all countries are as open and liberal to internet use as Australia. China, in particular, has what is know as the “Great Firewall of China”. The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is the combination of legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People's Republic of China to regulate the Internet domestically. Its role in the Internet censorship in China is to block access to selected foreign websites and to slow down cross-border internet traffic. Other countries which heavily censor access to the internet include Myanmar ,Vietnam, Tunisia, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia.

Aside from internet censorship, many countries have very poor connections to the rest of the world. Contained in a list of 148 countries, it is shown that the average internet speed throughout the world is 7.2Mb/s. Australia comes in at an embarrassing 50th at 11.1Mb/s, while the top country, South Korea, hits average speeds of 28.6Mb/s. At the other end of the average speed scale is Egypt at 2Mb/s and Paraguay at 1.4Mb/s. If you travels take you to Paraguay, then don’t expect much success in video-conferencing your children for their birthday celebrations. It would be best to rely on simple email. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Internet_connection_speeds)

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Chris Dwyer

Payment System Architect


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2. It can be expensive moving money between countries.

If you do get assigned to an exotic location for your employment, you may still have a mortgage in Australia, or you may have family to support. Alternatively, you may be paid into your Australian bank account but you need to access some cash in your exotic location. Money transfer between countries will become a constant process for the duration of your trip.

Banks will hit you with poor exchange rates, even though they may quote you as “no fees”. They certainly have fees. So in order to move your funds to and from Australia cheaply and quickly, try Instant Global Payments. With a standard rate 8 times cheaper than a bank, you will save thousands.

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3. Stock up on vegemite.

You see my point. Vegemite is one of those things that you either love it, or hate it. And if you love it and move to a truly exotic place, you will find that they do not stock it in the local shops. They may have similar products (Marmite, anyone ?) but if you are a true Vegemite connoisseur, then nothing else will satisfy your need. Same goes with shampoo, washing power, tea, coffee and anything that may be specific to your particular needs and desires.

Being in an exotic country is a great way to immerse yourself into their culture fully. But having some little things from home can help with periods of home-sickness.


4. Find and build a social network

Being away from family, friends and social networks, sporting groups and professional groups can be challenging at many different times. Moving to a new country and have no personal support, no shoulder to lean on when things get challenging, can be confronting.

The good news is that other expats are also in the same situation – and you will most likely end up with gaining friends for life from your different journeys around the world.

Join the sporting groups in your new country. Try new activities that are the mainstream for that location. Live like a local, and you will surely reap a lifetime of memories and friends.

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5. Language issues

Downloading the latest “English to Polish” translator on your smartphone may seem like a good idea, or enrolling in adult language school may help somewhat, but you will find that you will become a master of drawing, miming, guessing or just giving up and pointing at a menu and hoping you get something you need. From my experience, I once ordered a “latte” in a café in Italy, expecting to receive a coffee with milk. To my shock, and I am sure the café’s enjoyment, the waitress presented me with a glass of milk – exactly what I had ordered, but not what I had expected.


6. Dietary issues

We have pretty good access to global food while living in Australia. Whether we agree or not – much of our food is flown from overseas, giving us an enormous choice of food to consume. In some parts of the world, this is very different.

Let’s say you suffer from Coeliac disease. This means that you need to avoid all gluten – without exception. Living in Australia, it is quite possible to maintain a gluten free lifestyle as we have many, many options. But your favourite gluten free bread, pasta or cereal may not be readily available.

It can take a while to adjust to the local available food, and sometimes the monotony of eating the same type of food each and every day.

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7. Be aware of cultural differences

Do you eat a banana while walking to your office? Or drink a coffee while sitting the train? That might be perfectly acceptable in Australia, but in more traditional countries it can be seen as an insult. In Australia, it is quite common to finish all the food on the dinner plate. However, in many Asian countries, cleaning the entire plate shows the host that you are still hungry. It is a tradition to leave food on the plate to show that you are full and satisfied.

A more serious cultural difference is where non married couples are not allowed to be alone while in Saudi Arabia. Islamic law prohibits unmarried couples from living together or being alone with each other – including in taxis and hotel rooms. And violation of this carries jail time.


Choosing the right provider

Regardless of which bank details you are given; Instant Global Payments can help you send money to Australia. We pride ourselves on giving our customers world-class exchange rates, we challenge you to compare the exchange rate we offer you to your current provider, we are confident that we will be offering you a better rate.



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