What country should I move to? Things to consider before moving abroad

I’ve always dreamed about moving abroad. When I was a little girl I had the usual American dream almost everyone has around here. Then, when I was in high school, I decided I wanted to live in Canada in the future. Everything seemed so much better over there. And seeing how things are going right now, I couldn’t be happier with the country I’ve chosen.

Everyone has a different reason for wanting to move away from their home country. But ultimately it’s because we want more: we want new adventures, we want better adventures.

Things to consider before moving abroad

There are so many factors to take into consideration before choosing a new host country, but don’t get overwhelmed just yet. Ask yourself some questions, take a pen and some paper and start making lists. Everything gets better and it doesn’t seem so impossible anymore when you have a clear list of steps to take in front of you.

Where to go next?

If you really have no idea where to relocate, think about your own country. Make a list of things you like and things you don’t like about it. Then, look for places that are filled with things you like. It can be anything from stunning nature or proximity to the sea to universal health care or a good public transport system.

But don’t limit yourself, sometimes the bad outweighs the good. I decided to move to Canada to study. I’m not into cold winters and snowstorms and I wanted to go live in Vancouver. But I was genuinely interested in child and youth care and I got into my first choice school, which is in Toronto. So now I’m getting really excited to move there and wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.

Can I live and legally work or study there?

If you want to spend more than a couple of months in a country, chances are you will need a visa. You need to check if you’re eligible to get one and which type you’ll need. There are a lot of different types of permits, so make your research!

If you want to study in the country you’ve chosen, you’ll probably need a study permit. Sometimes that comes with a work permit, sometimes not, sometimes you can work for just a certain amount of hours when school is in session. It all depends on the country. You should check their government website, where all this kind of info should be listed.

Can I afford to live there?

After you’ve made a list of places you think you’ll enjoy living in, and you find out you are eligible to get a visa to study or work there, you should check the cost of living. Rents, foreign exchange, salaries, taxes, the price of groceries and public transports. On The Earth Awaits you can find the perfect city for your budget.

I know that being abroad just for the sake of being abroad is not for me. I want to see new things and meet new people. Most of the times, the most popular destinations are the most expensive and they will leave you without money and time to go explore around your new host country. For example, a lot of people move to London to work in restaurants or shops, but they end up working 10+ hours shifts and making enough money just for rent and food (because those things are super expensive there and pounds are still stronger than euros).

So maybe you want to look into more unique destinations. But if London (or any other expensive major city) is your lifetime dream, go for it. If you really want something, you’ll find a way to make it work.

How is the education system?

If you want to study in your new host country, you should check if you have the right requisites to apply to schools there. You will probably have to have your transcripts and other documents translated and notarized, so be prepared to make copies and pay extra fees.

If you’re staying just for a semester or a year, be sure your college or university will accept the credits you’ve earned abroad. There’s no use in paying international tuition fees and study hard for exams if you’ll have to retake them when you go back to your school. If you want to go back to your home country right after graduation, you should also check that your diploma or degree is valid there or that you can get your qualifications recognized.

Are there job opportunities?

If you’re moving abroad to work, you want to go where your skills are needed. Or, if you also want to reinvent yourself and start a new career, you should at least pick a country where there are opportunities for foreigners and a solid job market.

Do I know the language? Can I learn it?

Do they speak your first language in your new host country? Can they speak and understand English there?

If you want to get in touch with the local community in your new host country, you might want to consider learning their language. This will be a wonderful opportunity for you. You get to learn something new, to make friends and to get the real experience.

Are you thinking about moving abroad to work or study? Have you taken into consideration all these factors?

Sarah
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5 places I want to visit

The 5 days of 5 things challenge has come to an end. It was a fun one. I shared a bit more about my daily life and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

The last entry is about places I want to visit. I have a very long travel bucket list, so picking just 5 items from it was very difficult.

5 places I want to visit

Here are 5 cities I’ve never been to, listed by distance from home.

1. Positano, Italy (689 km – 428 mi)

2. Reykjavik, Iceland (2822 km – 1753 mi)

3. Cancún, Mexico (8808 km – 5473 mi)

4. Cape Town, South Africa (8886 km – 5521 mi)

5. Bali, Indonesia (11932 km – 7414 mi)

Do you have a travel bucket list? What are some places you really want to visit?

Sarah
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5 things I want right now

The 5 days of 5 things challenge is almost over. I think challenges are a cool way to share a bit more about myself and my daily life and I’m having fun doing this.

Today I’m putting together a small wishlist. But it won’t be just material things, I promise.

5 things I want right now

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1. I want it to be January already.

Since the day I got my letter of acceptance from the college in Toronto, I’ve been wishing to wake up in the morning and find out it’s January already. I can’t wait to go abroad anymore. I need this new adventure to start and this waiting is slowly killing me.

Back in August, when I finally sent my application and I was waiting for the response, it felt like January was in like 2 days. I was worried there was not enough time and I started panicking that I wasn’t going to get everything in order in time. But now, I realized three months are a very long period of time.

2. I want to go on a long road trip across Europe

I love road trips. I think I’m pretty lucky because from where I live I can drive for like 4 hours and I could get to either France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, or even Liechtenstein (which I never visited and I doubted its existence until I met a girl from Vaduz).

Now that I’m getting ready to leave Europe, I started feeling so overwhelmed because there are so many places I really want to visit, but probably won’t be able to in the near future. I’d love to visit all of Portugal. I want to go to Sevilla, Malaga and Granada in Spain. I’d like to go to Liechtenstein (I really want to go see what’s up there). I’d love to visit the Scadinavian countries, Russia and also the Balkans penisula.

3. I want Midliners

Let’s finally talk about something material. Mildliners have been sitting on my amazon wishlist for a long time now. It’s not that they’re expensive or anything. The reason why I still haven’t bought them is that I really don’t need them. I already have 3 different highlighters in my pencil case and I’m trying not to splurge too much. But these highlighters have amazing colours and they look so much cuter than regular highlighters.

4. I want all the Yankee candles

I have a soft spot for candles. Unluckily, I’m the only one in my family who likes them. Also, my favorites are the candles with the sweetest scent, like Vanilla Cupcake or Gingerbread Maple. Yankee candles also come in such a great package. I love everything about them and I wished I could have them all (except for the ones that smell like apples). I already know I’ll have to set a strict budget for candles when I’ll go live on my own.

5. I want the Ravenclaw cardigan I saw back in March, but didn’t buy

I love Harry Potter and the whole wizarding world. I literally grew up reading the books. I read the first one during my first year of elementary school and then the last one during last summer, right after my graduation. I always say I’m a casual fan, because I don’t have a lot of merchandise, I don’t always remember every name or the small details. But the truth is that every time someone mentions the saga, it makes me very happy.

Last spring, when I was in London, I got the chance to go to the Warner Bros. Studio, which I loved and definitely recommend visiting (maybe I’ll make a post about it in the future). In the shop, I set my eyes on a beautiful Ravenclaw cardigan. I didn’t buy it back then, but I find myself thinking about it every single night before going to sleep.

What are 5 things you want right now?

Sarah
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5 college essentials

On the third day of the 5 days of 5 things challenge we talk about school essentials. In particular, I will make a list of things I always have in my bag. And no, I’m not talking just about stationery. As much as I love pretty pens and colored highlighter, I don’t think they’re vital.

Instead, I always find myself lending the items on this list to my friends and even people that I don’t know that well. Having these items in your backpack will not just get you through the school day without any major disaster. It’s also a fun way to be social and help your friends out.

5 college essentials

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1. Some water

Staying hydrated during the day is very important. How can you do it if you don’t always have something to drink with yourself? But please, don’t drink soda during your school day. If you really need some flavor and you can’t live on plain water for the whole day, you could make your own infused water.

I always bring my water from home, because I need it even during my commute (especially if I have to run up three set of escalators to catch a train that’s about to leave). Also, it is way more convenient to buy bottled water in bulk than buying a single one every day at a vending machine on campus.

If you live out of a big city and you have good tap water, you could also invest in a cute reusable water bottle so you’ll also be environmentally friendly.

2. A scarf

Scarves are my favorite pieces of clothing. I have several different scarves in my closet and I wished I could use more than one at a time. The best thing about scarves is that they’re so versatile.

I use scarves during the winter, obviously. I always have a scarf around my neck if I’m outside. But I also use one kind of like a blanket when I’m studying at the library and I get too cold (even if I’m already wearing 5 layers of clothes).

I use scarves even during the summer months. I hate ac and most of the times it’s set way too high. So in the summers I use my scarf as a shawl around my shoulders.

3. A homemade emergency bag

Put in a small and cute makeup bag:

  • some tissues
  • headache and stomachache medicine
  • lip balm
  • a small brush, a mirror, hair ties and bobby pins
  • I also keep my contact lens solution in it.

4. An umbrella

I can’t stress enough how important it is to always have an umbrella in your backpack. Yes, even if the sun is shining high in a blue sky when you get out of your house in the morning.

Believe me, you definitely don’t want to walk out of the building after long hours of classes and find out it has started pouring outside so you can’t walk to the train station until it stops (yes, that happened to me and it was awful because I just wanted to go home and rest a bit but I had to spend two extra hours in the library).

5. A good book to read and good music to listen to

I bet you already have these two things in your bag if you commute. I usually take the train to school and I always spend that time reading and listening to music. The only reason why I don’t mind taking the train every single day that much is because of my Kindle.

But it’s essential to have a good book or music to listen to also because there’s always some free time in between classes. You should use that time wisely and maybe start studying or reviewing your notes, but if you’re too tired, you could read a book or just relax listening to your favorite album.

Do you have all these essentials in your school bag? What are some other things you always have in your backpack?

Sarah
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5 tv shows to binge watch

Today is the second day of the 5 days of 5 things challenge and we’re talking about tv shows. I am super duper happy. Do you remember when yesterday I said I spent an hour or two or ten a day watching tv shows? Well, I wasn’t lying.

I’ve been watching a lot of new shows and lately I’ve been also doing so many re-watches of old shows, so I’ve decided to share with you 5 of the most binge-worthy series I’ve ever watched.

5 tv shows to binge watch

This is not a list of my favourite shows, I couldn’t pick just 5! This is a list of shows I really encourage you to binge watch. That means you gotta start early in the morning, have some snacks ready, get comfortable and start watching episode after episode until bed time.

1. Graceland

This one is probably the most underrated tv show on this list and it was cut just after 3 seasons of 12/13 episodes each, but I really can’t understand how people didn’t watch this show. The cast was so on point, the characters they portrayed were very different and all the story-lines were so interesting.

Imagine a Southern California beach house, a group of undercover agents from different law enforcement agencies with a lot of unresolved personal issues and they’re all living and working together. This definitely isn’t your usual procedural show and you really need to watch it.

2. The Fosters

If you like drama, you cannot miss this show. I’m a sucker for drama and basically it’s all I watch, but this one is a super-duper-major-drama. Bonus: Stef and Lena are relationship goals. Added bonus: a cool multi-ethnic blended family.

3. Sense8

The first time I heard about this show they were still filming the first season. But there were already a lot of great things written about it and I was not disappointed when I first watched it. This is not your usual show, it’s a science fiction but it’s also a drama, so there’s somethings for anyone.

The plot is very intricate and the concept is very unique, plus the cast is brilliant. There are 8 main characters: a troubled Icelandic DJ now living in London, a Chicago cop, a Korean businesswoman who’s awesome at martial art, a bus driver from Nairobi, a full-time locksmith part-time safe-cracker from Berlin, an Indian scientist, a closeted actor living in Mexico City and a trans woman hacktivist and blogger living in San Francisco. These people don’t know each other, they’re strangers, they have different cultures as they live in different part of the world, they have different lives, different ambitions. But at some point they start to feel some sort of connection.

Bonus: a lot of cool view of Icelandic landscape.

4. Quantico

I have to admit it, I have a soft spot for agent Ryan Booth (and in my twisted mind he’s somewhat related to agent Seeley Booth and there will be a Quantico/Bones crossover someday). But the main reason I liked this show is because it has strong female characters. I also loved the great suspense and the fact that some story-lines are set in the past and others in the present.

Even though I don’t think the second half of Quantico lives up to the first one, I enjoyed the mixture of drama and thriller. The second season (Quan2co) just started and I couldn’t be happier.

5. Supernatural

Who on this heart hadn’t heard about Supernatural by now? There are two (hot) brothers who have to save the world every other season. There’s a cute angel who helps them sometime. Be aware: you might fall in love with either the King of Hell or Lucifer.

Bonus: there are 12 seasons, more than 200 episodes.

Have you (binge) watched any show lately? Did you watch any of the shows on this list?

Sarah
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5 things I do daily

Well, it looks like I survived the first day of blogging and I’m back for more. My goal is to publish a new post every Monday, but for this first week I want to write a post a day. So I have put together this little 5 days of 5 things challenge to introduce myself a little better and share some more fun facts about my daily life.

5 days of 5 things challenge:

Feel free to take part in this challenge. If you use it on your blog/social media, please let me know so I can come read your 5 days of 5 things.

5 days of 5 things challenge

5 things i do daily

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1. Wake up between 6 and 8 am

Right now I don’t have a fixed routine. Since I graduated in July, every day has been a little different.

Sometimes I don’t have anything set for the day, but I don’t like to spend all my morning in bed. That is why I always have my alarm to go off at 8 am (even though when I know I can sleep a bit, I always wake up at dawn).

There are days when I have appointments or I have to go work/volunteer and I wake up pretty early (like 6-ish am). I like being bright and early, it gives me a feeling of productiveness, but I hate the actual part of getting out of bed when it’s still dark outside, especially during the winter months, when it’s also so cold outside.

2. Drink between 1 and 5 coffee

The only thing that will never change in my life is that I have the first coffee of the day right after I wake up. My choice for the morning is coffee with soy milk, sometimes I eat cereals with it, sometimes it’s cake or cookies.

If I spend the day at home, that could be the only coffee I get for the whole day. But if I go out, I have the 10 am espresso, the after-lunch espresso, and the mid-afternoon espresso. When I was still studying at university I would also have coffee right before my evening study sessions.

3. Go for a run/walk

I want to be healthy and I like to keep myself fit, but I’ve never been so much into working out. Lately I’ve been making an extra effort to go out for a run, or at least a power walk, as much as I can.

Also, I live on the third floor and I have to walk up five set of stairs at least once a day, if I want to get home. Sometimes I carry heavy things, like groceries or my backpack, so I’d say I get my workout done every single day, even if I’m not in workout clothes.

4. Wash my face with let the good time roll

I love Lush’s products and I wished I could have every single thing they sell, but they’re all a bit pricey and I don’t actually need everything they have in their stores. One thing I’ve been using for a while now is the let the good time roll face cleanser. I’m deeply in love with it. It’s a soft scrub, it smells amazing and my skin has never been better. I use this product to exfoliate every single night, so that I can get rid of any remaining makeup on my face and it also helps my moisturizer get into my skin and do its job.

5. Binge watch tv-shows

I always proudly say that I don’t watch television, but the reality is that I spend at least two or three or sometimes ten hours every day watching tv shows on my computer. I don’t watch movies, I don’t particularly like mini-series and the only comedy tv show I can tolerate is Modern Family. But if you give me some drama, fantasy, or even police procedural, I can watch them for hours and hours. I could even forget to eat and it already happened that I forgot to go to sleep because I was so much into a plot line.

What are 5 things you do daily?

Sarah
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I’m starting a blog about living and studying abroad

I can’t believe I’m actually writing this post. I was thinking about starting a new blog for the longest time and now it finally feels like it’s the right time to do it. I’m starting this blog about living and studying abroad because by the end of the year I will be living and studying in Toronto and I have a lot of things I want to share about this.

why you should start a blog while living and studying abroad

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Over the years I’ve read a lot of expat blogs and tons of study abroad blogs. I loved reading about other people’s adventures away from their home, I liked that they were always sharing tips and giving others amazing suggestions and ideas. I always thought having a blog was a cool thing, so now that it’s my turn to go study and live abroad I’ve decided to start Sarah in the Six.

Why I want to start a live/study abroad blog

To always have a place to come to

Right now I’m still just overly excited about the big move. I keep saying that the only thing that scares me about my future is the -10°C, but I’ve been reading a lot of expat blogs and I know I’m bound to have some sort of homesickness at some point or to feel discouraged when something doesn’t go the way I want it to.

So this will be the place that will remind me why I’m doing it and also the place where I can turn to, where I can write and vent, ask for advice and connect with other people that have been there before.

To keep a record of my life

Then why not just post your pictures on facebook or write your private journal, you may ask. Well, I hate sharing too much on Facebook and I don’t want to have my whole life on there. Sarah in the Six is my own place and I can do everything I want with it. Others can come here and visit my little corner of the web and they can choose to close this window anytime they want to.

The reason I’m not just keeping a private journal is that I get bored after a couple of days of writing everything down by hand. Also, I want to write for other people, I want to inspire others, give them tips and tricks and even concretely help them, if possible.

To reflect on the past

I like to think that a blog about travelling, living, or studying abroad is like a collection of souvenirs from all the different (literal and symbolical) places you’ve been to. I will write everything down, the good and the bad, so I can preserve every little detail of my adventures. A year or two or five from now, I could come back and see how much (or how little) changed in my life.

To connect with others

Blogging will be a fun way to keep my friends and family updated, to share my stories and adventures with them. It will also give me a chance to get in touch with locals and other people temporarily living or just visiting Toronto.

To improve my written english

I’ve decided I will write this whole blog in English. I already write a lot in English, but writing more than a caption for an Instagram picture is definitely still a bit challenging. Since I will attend a course where I’ll probably have to write essays (and I am already dreading it), I need some extra practice and writing about things I’m passionate about seems like a fun and easy way to do it.

Do you have a blog? Or are you thinking about starting a blog? What are your reasons?

If your looking for more about college abroad, be sure to check my college abroad group board on Pinterest and let me know if you’d like to join it.

Sarah
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