This isn’t 1776.
We don’t sail away to new lives anymore, kissing family and friends goodbye forever.
Nor should we arrive in a foreign land sans-connections.
This idea of leaving everything behind and starting from scratch is often romanticized in movies. But those movies are usually based around life a long, long time ago.
These days, you don’t have to get off the plane with no house, no job and no friends — you should already have all that lined up.
Unless you’re planning on moving overseas in an old-style sailing ship (very cool, not practical), you probably want to map out certain aspects of your life.
Social media is the key. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn — these aren’t just idle ways to pass the time anymore.
Now that you’ve decided to move abroad, these are your most important tools. Read on to discover how you can use them wisely to turn your transition abroad from a nightmare into the sweetest of dreams.
Practicalities First: Social Networks to Find Housing
How can you use social networks to get things done?
First of all, you have to choose the right ones.
The King of the Social Networks
Ever seen The Social Network? If this movie teaches us anything, it’s that Facebook is king of the social media giants.
That’s because it encompasses a bit of it all. The social aspect is a given, but you can buy, sell, trade, barter and search for anything and everything on this vast network of potential opportunities.
For example, say you want to move to Amsterdam. Log in to your Facebook and search for “housing Amsterdam”. You’ll find dozens of housing groups, offering apartments and rooms for rent around the city.
Ask to join some of these groups and make your needs known. You can also sort through different housing options posted by users.
Social Networks Specifically for Housing
There are a few social networks designed specifically with housing in mind.
- iAgora: Try iAgora to find a shared apartment. Here you’ll find roommates as well, though you can narrow your search to private spaces. Furnished apartments are also available.
- Sublet: Sublet allows you to search for extremely specified housing and cut out the middle man. You’ll rent either directly from landlords or from the tenants themselves, avoiding a contracted lease agreement.
Use Social Networks to Find Roommates and Furnish Your Space
You don’t want to move overseas with all your furniture and your current roommate.
Even if you do, you probably won’t be able to. It will be much less expensive to furnish your home when you arrive, and much more exotic to source a roommate when you get there.
Here are some apps to help you on your way:
- Roomster: Featuring 192 countries and 18 languages, you’re sure to find a roommate you like on Roomster. You can search through thousands of roommates to find your perfect match (and sometimes even find apartments to share!).
- Facebook: There’s a reason they’re the king. Connect with Facebook groups in your area that center on buying and selling secondhand furniture, clothes and appliances to get everything you need for your apartment. No matter where you are, you’ll be able to find the goods.
Make Forever-Friends with Social Networks
One of the hardest things about moving abroad is making friends. Here are some tools to help you meet people and connect with the community.
- Internations: You can connect with other expats through networks like Internations. This network has 3 million English-speaking members who have meetups in 390 international cities worldwide!
- Instagram: Use Instagram to make new friends by following accounts of those that pique your interest in the city of your choice. Choose someone you know you have something in common with, and send them a lighthearted message explaining your situation. This one takes courage, but can turn out totally cool!
- Twitter: Search through the Twitter accounts of locals who like the same stuff as you do. You can use the “similar to you” box to find people in your area with the same interests as you. Eventually, you may build up a rapport and a friendship will blossom.
Social Networks Can Help You Find Employment
Are you ready to find a job? Social media marketing is a thing, you know. And not just for products.
When you look for a job overseas, you’ll be marketing yourself as well. And if you don’t know anyone, you’ll need to be as connected a possible.
That means taking advantage of every opportunity that may present itself through social networks. One of the best “working networks” around is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn allows you to upload your resume, job history, and employment status. Their unique system is all about opportunity and employment. They are the largest professional network around. LinkedIn has over 546 million users in over 200 countries worldwide.
If you don’t already have an account, make one. If you do, send feelers out early. Connect with people in your industry where you plan on moving too.
Once you use social media like Internations, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to make friends, connect with them on LinkedIn and see where it goes.
Experience the Best of Social Networks
It isn’t really which network you choose, but how you use it (hint: get on all of them).
Moving abroad can be a daunting experience, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually. Utilizing every network around is a great way to get started on building your new life.