7 (practical) things I wish I knew before moving overseas

 

I moved from a small city in the south of New Zealand to Europe in July 2016. I’m now well settled in London with a great job, amazing flat, supportive friends and a 5-year visa under my belt. But it wasn’t always plain sailing. These are the things I wish I knew before crossing the ditch (or in English; moving overseas).

 

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH!

degree 1It may seem obvious, but visas can take anywhere from a few days to three months to process. Make sure you do your research and know when to apply and how long it may take and what country you should be in, or not be in. If you want to apply for a visa for the country your currently in, often you have to leave that country and apply from elsewhere, or even your home country.

How I figured this out the hard way: When applying for a French working visa, I could only go to the French embassy in NZ. I couldn’t do it anywhere else. When applying for my UK visa, I could apply anywhere in the world except the UK itself!?

 

  1. Create and carry certified copies of all documents

You never know what you’re going to lose or have to send away. Losing your passport can be one of the most stressful drama’s you go through, along with applying for visas. Certified copies are often regarded as legitimate as the original and seriously help in your effort to get new copies. Have your passport, birth certificate, tertiary education certificates, anything you may need for a visa, job or bank account. You generally have to take your documents to an Upstanding Member of Society in the UK or in NZ they’re called a Justice of the Peace to get them copied, signed and certified.

How I figured this out the hard way: When I applied for a UK Ancestral visa I had to send away my original passport along with certified copies of my birth certificate, my mum’s birth and marriage certificate AND grandmothers birth and marriage certificates...! My mum (angel) had to run around NZ getting certified copies and fast posting them to Germany because I hadn’t done my research.

 

  1. If in doubt – ring your or their embassy

Even if it costs money to call– JUST DO IT. Write down all your questions and prepare to spend £20 just rattling them off. They do have answers. Repeat all their answers back to them so you can be super sure. Ask for a reference number for the call or even a direct dial or email for future questions to avoid more fees.

How I figured this out: I spent £40 talking to a rather bland, yet very helpful woman at the British embassy who clarified answers to my questions that could’ve resulted in me losing $3000NZD in fees…yikes!

 

  1. Have some backup money

Seriously, emergency money is no joke. Having a solid savings account is a given. You’re embarking a long-term/no income/high spent opportunities journey. But leaving some money at home, with your mum, under your bed, in a secret account, wherever, will be a lifesaver.

Tip: Go to your usual bank before you leave and see if you can get a credit card with a few grand limit. Put the card in a safe place in the bottom of your suitcase and know it’s there if worse comes to worse.

2nd tip: DON’T SPEND EMERGENCY MONEY ON “EMERGENCY” TEQUILA SHOTS!

 

  1. Tell the important people

While you’re at the bank, tell them you’re going overseas. They’ll note it down on your account so when you go to use your usual cards or credit card it doesn’t lock you out. No point in having emergency money if your bank thinks you’re a cyber thief.

How I figured this out the hard way: If you’ve ever felt the shame of being in a restaurant and your card declines, then try paying for a visa in the UK embassy in Berlin and your card declining…

Tip: I made my mum executer of my bank accounts, so if anything major happened (aka spending all my emergency money on “emergency tequila”) she could move money around, take money out or extend my overdraft without me being there.

Tell your own government too, student loans and business accounts acquire serious tax while your away. You might even qualify for a repayment holiday, and they usually have a way to pay into your accounts without paying international fees. You don’t want to come home after two years and be stopped at the border because your loan and doubled in size.

 

  1. Have your CV prepped and ready

You might not get a job straight away, or have access to a computer and printer. So, make sure your CV is up to date and a few copies printed off on nice paper.

Having multiple versions that accentuate different skill sets can be good. Also include relevant visa status, what that status entitles you to and a local address if you can. Recruiters and companies could disregard your CV if they think you’re transient or don’t recognise the visa.

 

  1. It’s not all scary applications and being poor

Lastly, a lot of people talk about being prepared to be lonely, homesick, lost, scared. But also be prepared to love it so much you never go back! Missing your family is a given, but technology is so good these days, you’ll probably speak to your family and friends more than when you were at home...! There’s no reason why you won’t find another country that you feel just as at home in or friends you feel like you’ve known forever.

Moral of the story is, moving country can be daunting. Leaving home can be daunting. But by doing some research and prep (and learning from others mistakes) can go a long way in ensuring you get more time on holiday and less time doing life admin.


 EvieI joined the Mattinson Partnership dream team in Spring 2017. Originally from New Zealand, I have a background in hospitality and administration. After graduating with BSc in Psychology and Criminology I settled in London following six months exploring Europe. I now manage MP's brand development, social marketing and business support alongside Amy. Outside of work you'll usually find me avoiding the gym and spending too much money!

 

Back to all news
 
Log In.

Apply now:

(#)

Please note: we only accept .doc, .docx and .pdf files

Refer A Friend:

(#)



London Wildlife Trust.

We at Mattinson Partnership are proud partners of The London Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting the wildlife and wild spaces of London by driving environmental projects throughout the city. Our team often get involved at ground level by helping to maintain and restore treasured spaces and land… we love to get our hands dirty! Our very own Associate Director Ruth is also heavily involved in the Wild Talent Project, an initiative designed to increase diversity in the environmental work landscape and remove the barriers to entry for a career in the nature conservation sector. Ruth has contributed to their CV workshops and interview practises within their training programme.



Royal Town Planning Institute.

The RTPI represents planning professionals in the UK and Ireland and aims to encourage the development of vibrant and prosperous places and communities. Our Senior Consultant Freddie enthusiastically attends the annual Planning Convention, and we host several events throughout the year to show our support, including drinks networking and a literal pub quiz. We also keep in close contact with our friends down under, at the Planning Institute Australia and New Zealand Planning Institute. In addition, we sponsor the London Planning Summit, an event designed to address the biggest challenges facing the industry. This is our opportunity to stay on top of the latest changes in town planning by meeting with other key professionals in the sector, while celebrating our achievements.



Land Securities Group Plc.

One of our clients, LandSec, are the clever people behind Girls Can Do It Too, an initiative designed to encourage girls to consider a career in construction. Currently, only 11% of the construction workforce are female, and LandSec are attempting to increase this number by providing education and engagement projects and workshops for girls aged 11-13. Featuring workshops on demolition and tower building, as well as challenging the girls to design a planning project of their own (with a focus on budgeting and environmental considerations), LandSec have proven their dedication to addressing the need for diversity in this very male dominated industry. Ruth assists the project by sharing her fascinating insights into the industry and is even on the project judging panel!



Succulents and Seeds.

We love growth, and while our Mattinson Forest continues to grow with every candidate we place, it can be hard to imagine the impact we are having on our environment when it’s not visually accessible. We like to give our candidates and clients a little visual reminder of the wider vision they are now part of. We gift all our candidates and clients with a succulent plant or seed packet to remind them that by nurturing something, be it a talent or a plant, it can grow to become something beautiful and highly useful. By investing your time as a Mattinson candidate you are investing in the good of the wider environment.



Carbon Footprint.

Carbon FootprintTM works to help organisations offset their CO2 through tree planting and community projects worldwide. By partnering with Carbon FootprintTM, we have planted native trees and shrubs such as Whitebeam, Hazel, Field Maple, Silver Birch, Rowan, Beech, Blackthorn, Holly and Dog Rose to create a Mattinson Forest that spreads across South East England. Carbon FootprintTM work in conjunction with the Florestal Santa Maria Project (FSM-Redd Project), designed to reduce deforestation in the Amazonian Rainforest. So, for every tree we plant in the UK we guarantee a tonne of CO₂ offset in Brazil too. Carbon FootprintTM have allowed us to not only do our bit for the environment but also commemorate moments of growth for our clients and candidates.