To live abroad opens up many new opportunities for you and your family, and many people look back on their stay as an exciting time of their life. You will have the opportunity to get valuable work experience, new friends and colleagues and you will get to know yourself better. We have gathered some tips for you that are considering moving abroad, or already are living the expat dream.

Be prepared!
It is exciting to move abroad. However it is important to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. It can be demanding to move to a new place with a different culture than you are used to at home. Bureaucratic procedures, establishing a new social network, cultural differences and home sickness are challenges you need to be aware of before you go. Whether you are following your family or you are working yourself, you should do some preperations and try to imagine how it will be when you arrive. A good way to do that is to read as much as possible about the country. You can also contact other fellow expats who has experience from the country you are planning to move to.

Create a social network as soon as possible
Use your network for all that it is worth; family, friends, acquaintances or colleagues. Send an email and tell everyone that you are moving, and in that way perhaps your already existing network know someone and could put you in contact with a network in the country you are moving to. Social media is great for this purpose. Facebook has several international groups for each country, and the Norwegian Seaman’s Church and embassies/consulates have their own group on Facebook (see if your country has a Seaman’s church here: http://www.sjomannskirken.no/aktuelt/her-er-vi or an embassy/consulate www.norway.info). In that way you can keep contact with the Norwegian society where you live. Many expats also have mentors who can help you get integrated in different social networks.

Explore!
From the first day you arrive, you should explore the city you are living in. Soon enough you’ll settle into the routines of day-to-day life, but use the weekends for travelling and sight-seeing. Check the possibilities for a driving license and plan a road trip to other cities in the country.

Language
Make an effort to learn the language. Even though you come far with using the English language in most countries, you will never be fully integrated without mastering the local language. Besides, it is an excellent way of creating a network by attending language courses.

Maintain the children’s language
If your children go to a foreign school for several years, the summer school Norgesskolen might be a good idea. At this school, your children can prepare themselves for the Bergentest if they need it.