So you’ve done your research. You’ve learned about the Chinese culture and the lay of the land, you’ve discovered the work you want to do or the program you plan to study. You may have even picked up a little Chinese and fancy yourself ready for the lingual challenge. Now what? What are the steps it’ll take to get you settled on the other side of the world?
If you’re lucky, you’ll have an employer that will be managing your move, making all the arrangements to transport you and your household overseas. On the other end of the scale, you may have to handle every last detail completely on your own. Either way it will still be up to you to decide exactly what to take and what to leave behind. When we first moved to China, we brought a lot of the wrong things and not enough of the right things. The first time a good friend came to visit, we were quick to request that he bring us things like thick socks and a stockpile of deodorant, and convinced him to bring home our unused sewing machine. You can do your friends a favor if you pack a little more wisely than we did.
Getting ready for the big move can be a busy and complicated time. If you have children, the younger ones may not understand what all the commotion is all about; the older ones will understand it all too well. Add to that all the detailed paperwork and processes you’ll need to manage, as well as saying good-bye to family and friends and perhaps a family pet, and making the move can be quite a stressful time. Just make sure you don’t get so caught up in the details that you miss out on the joy and thrill of this incredible adventure you are embarking on.