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Overseas travel is a popular option for many students just coming to the end of an academic career. There’s only so much you can learn from books, lectures and the internet; at a certain point, it’s a good idea to get out into the world and find out what life is really about.

This isn’t just a good idea for personal development reasons. It might help your professional life, too. In some cases, you might find that there are employment options available abroad that are too enticing to resist.

Abiding by foreign laws

When you’re working as an expat in a foreign country, you’ll be expected to obey the law. Fail to do so, and you could find yourself in serious trouble. Criminal and civil law can vary substantially from place to place. Moreover, the way that we define certain legal ideas will vary, too. What amounts to fraud in one territory might be a day’s work in another.

As an expat, you must pay attention to immigration law. This mostly means getting the appropriate visa. Get a competent immigration lawyer on your side, and give yourself peace of mind.

Sorting out your money

If you’re going to be leaving the UK for more than one tax year, you’ll need to tell HM Revenue and Customs about it. If you’re filling in a self-assessment tax form, you can include this information there. If you’re not, then you can use form P85.

Make sure that you’ve also gotten in touch with your bank so that you can access your money from your new home overseas. It probably won’t hurt to carry some emergency cash around, too.


When it comes to accommodation, you can either carry out your research or ask around for advice. If you’ve already been hired, it makes sense to get a feel for which areas are pleasant to live in. Make sure that your accommodation is sorted and that you have a process for paying your bills and rent. If this isn’t arranged, then you’ll create more stress for yourself.

You might be able to look after someone’s house while they aren’t living in it, which means that you’ll enjoy vastly reduced costs throughout your stay. For digital nomads, this might be an ideal solution.

Cultural differences

Language barriers can present a challenge. Generally speaking, the more effort you put into daily practice, and the more often you’re speaking with the locals, the faster you’ll improve. If you’re travelling for business, it’s also a good idea to take note of what’s expected in terms of etiquette. You don’t want to unwittingly offend by taking off your shoes, or by leaving them on.


Part of the appeal of being an expat is that it will generate a sense of independence. You can contribute value wherever you travel, and you don’t need to be trapped in an unfulfilling job in the UK. You might also find yourself more comfortable being alone with your thoughts. For some travellers, homesickness and loneliness are major problems – but they can each be overcome with the right mindset.