Many times, I’m asked, “What was the best decision that you have ever made?” Hands down, I best decision was to move abroad for two years in Madrid, Spain. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! I would highly encourage everyone to live abroad at least once. I asked a peer writer, Seth Godwin, to help by sharing his safety tips for moving abroad.

Take it away, Seth!

When it comes to moving abroad for the first time, it can pay to know what you’re getting into. This isn’t to suggest that other countries or cultures are hazardous and that you should be on edge all of the time. Quite the opposite, the more you travel the more you’ll realize just how despite culture, most people are good, loving and hospitable. However, moving abroad for the first time can leave you a little puzzled in all of the small considerations you must experience before you understand.

One of these considerations is the ability to stay safe at all times. Depending on which country you visit, the laws, cultures, or guidance might be different. Being fearful is silly of course, but it can pay to know how to react. By ‘safety’ we do not mean you’re likely to become a victim of crime. This encompasses many things, such as what to do in a health crisis while not a current citizen and matters of equal importance. Consider the following to keep safe and aware of from the moment you touch down:

Home Security

Home security will always be a consideration no matter where you live, but it might be that certain homes require a different way of looking at matters. For example, living in a home in Venice might require more stringent locks on the windows thanks to water reaching up to the borders of the property. It might be that certain ground in a certain environment lends itself to a form of underground tunneling and variant foundations, perhaps allowing for access to your property where you might not have thought to secure as diligently as the obvious routes. It might be that your new city includes very many different heights of architecture, meaning that aerial access to your property is less likely than the place you may have come from previously.

No matter where you go, home security requirements will change in some ways, meaning that a one size fits all solution may not be completely viable. Luckily, it’s completely possible to switch up these issues and find solutions that make the most sense by hiring a security professional or explaining your personal situation with notes to someone working for a local security home installation firm. This can help your home become outfitted no matter where you live, from a humble house in a new rural environment to a beautiful Punggol condo. that certain


Healthcare will change in requirement and legal access depending on where you live. For example, if you are a European citizen, the EU insurance card can grant you access to a range of important hospital environments, lessening the bill and heightening the prioritization in which you are seen in the first place.

However, it might be that even if you move abroad, you still have certain rights from your country of citizenship. Depending on where you live, certain applications may have to be made for insurances, or in subscribing to an international insurance policy. It could be that depending on the allowances of your country, the cost of healthcare might be hard on international visitors, and so subscribing to a private healthcare firm might help you gain cover and quick access when considering all options.

However, it’s not only how you’ll be treated that should concern you. When moving abroad for the first time, it might be that you will need to undergo a few injections to inoculate yourself against a wide range of illness, or that your children will need to undergo the same process. It might be that the disease rate is higher in a certain country, or that the insects and wildlife there might be notorious for spreading forms of bacteria. In this case, learning simple methods such as how to use a mosquito net or how to apply bite cream can help you, as can learning the specific needs of an area before you move. There is nothing more important than your health and the health of your family, so be sure to take all this into account.

Crime Statistics

While it might be that moving to a new home is all you dreamed of, learning about the societal statistics nearby can help you stay aware of how circumstances are. In some cases, you might be moving from a high crime rate to a lower percentage. In some cases, this might be the other way around. There is nothing wrong with learning more to do with your immediate area and trying to mitigate those issues. Searching online with community-based discussions can help you find out where to avoid, where to explore and practices you might use to keep yourself in check.

Unfortunately, crime is a pretty universal constant, and anyone can be a victim of it. Thankfully, if you have the willingness to just stay aware of many issues, you can learn to stop being a victim. This might be learning of scams taking root in your city, or simply staying informed with the news of your area. This helps you stay an active and caring citizen, while also ensuring you and your family stay safe. This point rings true no matter where you choose to move. Even moving to a new neighborhood in your own state will require this. However, moving abroad is often a little more unfamiliar, so it can pay to take this into consideration from the get-go.


It can sometimes be that cultural development might not be as you’re used to in a given area. For example, let’s say you move to a rural village in Sicily in order to pursue your work interests. Many rural farming communities may not have access to very competent internet even in the modern day, and life in these places is often more authentic, a little slower, but no less beautiful. Now let’s say this village is in a dip, so signal reception might be a little less perfect than it could be. It’s not uncommon for landline telephones to be the number one standard in a range of places around the world, even in the modern day.

This means that communication can be a different story to that which you’re used to. That isn’t to say it’s inferior, just different. However, as communication with your family, local neighborhood and many other people can help keep you and your property safe, it might be that you need to familiarize yourself with how to get the message out if you need it. Communicating with neighbors, finding the signal spots, traveling to the city to check up on cyber communications every few days among many other duties can help you live life on an international scale and still gain some form of communicative ability. However, allowing your closest to know that you might find this struggle difficult can stop them from worrying if you do not respond in an accelerated time.

These communication issues will help you once again learn the value of letters, becoming part of the community and getting away from the unnecessary hordes of words shared on social media, and many other channels of communication afforded by the internet. Just think, sitting down with a glass of wine in the evening and looking out over the horizon could be achieved without once looking at your phone.

Moving abroad can be a wonderful experience, especially if done so for a direct purpose. However, the unfamiliarity of a certain location can sometimes open us up to get in trouble, but if you take the advice in this list, you are likely to stay a safe new occupant of the beautiful country on your doorstep.

**Post contributed by travel writer, Seth Godwin, who is based in the U.K.**