To be completely honest I still can’t really believe that I’m moving to China and that I have a job lined up once I get there. In a lot of ways it feels like I am about to have the life I always wanted. Because of that, a part of me is afraid something will go wrong.
On the other hand I am incredibly excited. While I know adjusting to a new culture won’t be easy, I can’t wait for the challenge and the opportunities that will come with it! I am a bit more nervous for this new job, but I’m doing what I can to prepare now and hopefully it will go better than I think it will.
While the best things about this opportunity are living in another country and traveling (and it is also great for my husband’s career), the ability to save money is up there. We hope to have student loans paid off after the first year!
It sometimes seems as if the number of things to do before moving abroad is constantly changing. My checklist seems to shrink and then grow on a daily basis. Somethings are small – like picking up a months supply of my favorite beauty products. Others are big – like selling our car and getting our visas. But they are all important! I have managed to organize everything we need to do into different categories:
In China – Luckily we are being provided housing so we don’t have to worry about finding a place to live once we get to Shanghai.
Here – Our lease ended in April and we moved to an apartment where we can live month to month.
Furniture – We have decided to get rid of most of our stuff. We don’t really have a lot and will keep our nice furniture, but the rest can go. We are planning to give away any furniture that our families may want and then selling the rest at a tag sale.
Clothes – We plan on bringing most of our clothes and anything we don’t bring can go to the tag sale or goodwill.
Everything else – We will keep our wedding gifts and a few nice things we have, but the rest will either be taken with us or sold at the tag sale.
Storage – Getting rid of most things means we hopefully won’t have too much to store. My parents have offered us space in an attic so store what we have left over so luckily we won’t have to pay for storage. Our goal of course is to have as little to store as possible.
Car – We are going to sell our car.
Flights – Our flights are booked and we are ready to go!
Visas – We have our visa documents and forms and a date set up to go to the visa processing office. Hopefully that will go smoothly!
Address Change – Right before we go we will have to update our address. We get most of our bills electronically and are making sure any that we don’t we will set up.
Language – I bought a language program and am slowly getting through it. My goal is to have a very rudimentary understanding of some basic phrases that can help us get around those first few days.
Phones – Luckily we are both out of contract with our phones. Before we leave we are going to have them unlocked so we can use them with a Chinese company.
Vaccinations – We are currently in the process of getting our vaccinations. We decided not only to get vaccinations for China, but also for the different places that we want to travel.
Doctor’s Appointments – We have scheduled all of our regular check-ups so that we don’t have to worry about finding doctors immediately.
Credit Card – The husband and I got credit cards that don’t charge international fees.
Bank Accounts – We are reviewing and consolidating our bank accounts.
Accountant – What is probably the most important thing is that I am looking around for an accountant who specializes in expats. I want to make sure we have our tax situation figured out before we move to help make filing next year a smooth process.
We are planning a going away party so that we can see everyone before we leave! Just waiting on confirming the space and then I can go from there!
I am sure there are other things that I am forgetting or will come up – but this is our big list of what needs to be done before we leave! And this list doesn’t include packing!
Where has the time gone? It seems only yesterday that the husband and I learned we would be moving to China. We are already at our 2 1/2 month countdown. Between, vaccinations, getting our visa, and selling our stuff there is a lot to do. However, one of my biggest goals is to actually enjoy my time off. Before I know it I will be working again – and starting a whole new career, which won’t be easy. In fact, I’m sure it will be exhausting. So, as the weather gets nicer I’m letting myself enjoy these relaxing days. In fact, just the other day I went on a great bike ride and ended up here:
I have had an amazing past four weeks. It was an intensive, sleep deprived, and crazy learning experience. I started the process scared and unsure of myself and left with confidence and five new friends. I just finished getting my certification to teach English to speakers of other languages.
I leave for China on July 15th. A few weeks later I start a job teaching English. I have never taught before, or really ever had the desire to teach, yet I could not say no to this opportunity. I signed up for this course in order to get some practice teaching and obtain some knowledge on how we learn languages. It was so much better than I expected. Not only because of what I learned and being able to practice my teaching, but also because of the people I met.
It was a small glimpse into the world I’ll be experiencing once we move. Not only what I’ll be doing but the type of people I will be meeting. I can’t wait!
Please enjoy this guest post from Amanda Perkins. Amanda Perkins writes and edits the Study Abroad website ClassAbroad.com. She enjoys traveling, learning, and writing. She recently published a piece on Study Abroad Funding.
Studying abroad is one of the most exciting, memorable, and beneficial experiences that you can utilize while you are in college. However, nothing is ever free of course, and studying abroad can become a very costly expedition. Not only do you have to think about tuition costs and program fees but there are also housing costs, travel costs, and entertainment/activity costs. Don’t forget you have to eat as well. Although a study abroad experience is very expensive it is still possible to afford. Luckily, there are several ways that you can find the means to study abroad. There are several non-traditional ideas that you can try to implement which means having fun while still raising enough money to go. If that does not sound like something you would be good at there are still the traditional funding methods such as scholarships and grants.
If you are a daring and creative person you may want to skip the traditional funding ideas and explore the more non-traditional ways of raising money. For example you could reach out to local businesses by explaining who you are and why you want to study abroad and start up a donation drive. You could also reach out to your family, friends, and hometown community. Other creative ways to get donations for your study abroad fund are to create a website, have a bake sale or yard sale, or hold some sort of event where you do something for donations. It may sound like a long shot but there are many people who like to see college students succeed. It doesn’t hurt to try. While trying to raise money in a fun way through donations you can still make it to another country and other people will be able to enjoy helping you get there.
Then of course, there are the traditional ways of funding your study abroad adventure. Many organizations and schools offer scholarships that are specifically aimed at students who want to study abroad. Sometimes they will only cover part of the trip such as travel costs. Certain scholarships are only available to students who can prove a financial need. As a general rule you will have to write an essay with each scholarship application explaining why you want to study abroad. Even if you are not a student there are still opportunities to study abroad. Some organizations offer grants to anyone—not just college students—for example, there is one grant called “Delaying the Real World” which gives money to a young person between the ages of 21 and 29 who is not enrolled in school but still wants to travel and see the world. All scholarships and grants vary and have different rules and regulations so there is bound to be one that is perfect for you.
Although the costs of studying abroad may seem scary and intimidating there is no need to panic. There are ways to get around these costs for everyone. Whether you are willing to try and raise the money yourself by organizing an event or drive or you want to apply to various scholarships and grants you can make your study abroad dreams come true. It may take some time as well as some trial-and-error but if you set your mind to finding the means for studying abroad you will be on a plane to your next destination before you know it.
Moving to Shanghai is an amazing opportunity for so many reasons. It is a great step up for my husbands career and an interesting turn for mine. There is of course the ability to live in a foreign culture, challenging ourselves to grow and learn. Nothing beats our now increased ability to travel and explore Southeast Asia. But, one of the best perks may just be the financial one.
Our employer will provide us housing. That alone is huge! Just think about how much more you could save if you did not have to pay rent or a mortgage. On top of that we get a stipend for utilities and a travel allowance that will allow us to come home twice a year.
When we first planned to move abroad we assumed that only the husband would be able to find a job before we go. The fact that I also have a job also opens a lot of doors. Our expectation is to live on one salary.
The plan in the first year is to pay off our student loans, once that is done we are going to save every penny towards a mortgage. It is going to be an exciting and productive two years!
The rumors are true – there may finally be a Veronica Mars movie! What does it hinge on you ask? Us! That is right, they are the closest they have ever been to making a movie since the series ended and it is up to us to make it happen.
If they can raise 2 million dollars by April 12th they will start filming this summer! Visit their kickstarter page to learn more.
Be sure to watch this video for your VM fix:
Donate now! Let’s finally get that Veronica Mars movie we have been lusting after since the show ended!
The opinions expressed on this blog are my own unless otherwise stated. I have no expert knowledge or advice in personal finance, fertility or anything else. Instead, I write about my experiences and my opinions.