Did you know that moving is one of the top five stressful life events that a family can face together? This could be moving into a new house or even more so, moving into a new home in a new country.
Dealing with the pressure and anxiety isn't an easy feat but with some useful tips and transitional advice, you and your family can make moving to a new country look like a piece of cake.
1. Keep An Open Mind
First and foremost, when you move anywhere, be it with or without a family, it's important to keep an open mind. Realising that you are in a new country, with new traditions and customs will make the transition much easier.
Comparing your new country of residence to your old country will not only frustrate you but make your moving house anxiety worse. Accepting that this is how it is done in this country will help you enjoy your transition and take some of the stress away.
Instead, try and learn about these new customs and take part in them as much as you can. Learning some of the native language goes a long way with the locals, and you are more likely to be accepted if you are trying to fit in.
This goes for better customer service and friendlier faces. Think about how comforting it is when you’re traveling and you hear a familiar English word!
2. Get Involved In Local Activities
In Portugal, not only the Algarve
, there is always something going on for you and the family to get involved in. Portugal is a very family-orientated country with communities hosting festivals and events geared at family regularly.
Whether it be attending local fares, a medieval festival, or attending a local association event, there are lots of ways that you can get involved with the local community.
This will help your family make connections and possibly, make a friend or two along the way. Attending these events will also immerse your family in the local traditions and make it feel more like home. Trying out the local cuisine and finding your favourite coffee shop can be turned into a fun adventure for you and the family, plus you get to try many local pastries along the way, until you find your favourite one!
Portugal is also a very sport-orientated country, with an endless amount of clubs and types of sports available for both you and your children to try. When we say sport, this includes dancing, tennis, horse riding, and even sailing, so there is pretty much anything you can think of available. As a parent you will also get peace of mind because there are excellent facilities and very good coaches for everything and your children will be left in safe and capable hands.
This goes for both public and private clubs. Every local municipality has a sports pavilion that offers a variety of activities, and it can help with learning the language, social interaction, and simply staying active.
3. Do Your Research
Living in a new country will bring about all-new challenges and surprises. It is important before moving to the Algarve that you do some research on areas and pick one that suits your lifestyle. The Algarve is full of different areas that don't do things the same way and have different styles of living within each bubble. For example, if you’re into surfing then the Algarve west coast might be a good area for you. Countryside living might find you looking for a home in Loulé!
It's also important to get up-to-date information on tax laws and how all the paperwork works. You can get an accountant to help you with everything but having a basic knowledge of the laws is essential, this goes for property taxes, social security payments, and other regular living expenses.
If you are interested in boating, hunting, or fishing, you will have to brush up on what you need and where you can fish, as there is a zero-tolerance policy on breaking these rules and you can get fined if you are in the wrong place or don’t have the correct licenses.
4. Plan Ahead
Tasks that seem mundane in your home country can turn into monumental tasks if you don’t plan ahead before touching down in the Algarve. Knowing how to get around effectively is probably the biggest need in a new country, whether it be buying a car, using Uber or a local taxi service, planning ahead, and knowing exactly how you are going to get around is very important.
In the Algarve, public transport is effective within the more populated areas. But if you’re considering outlying areas, then you will be better off buying a car or even using Uber which is readily available in almost all areas. Delivery food services like UberEats and Glovo do work well, if you are in a pickle you could always make use of one of those apps and have food delivered.
For schooling, it is important to plan ahead and know what is required to get into the public school system and how to go about it. Particularly because the school calendar might be different from your country of origin, the school year may start at a different time, and so on. Portuguese schools require a NIF (fiscal) number, health number, and social security number to enroll new students. Also, you’ll need translated documents like the latest school performance report and vaccination records.
If you plan on sending your children to an international school, there are numerous options available all around the Algarve and the entry requirements are different from the public school system but you can email them beforehand and find out what you will need.
5. Expect The Unexpected
Be realistic with your new life but always remember to expect the unexpected. No matter how much research you do, there will always be a few things that can catch you off guard. While the initial phase and the first year are usually the toughest, always remember why you moved in the first place and meet all the challenges head first.
You will initially experience a few mixed feelings about the move and whether it was the right choice but remember you are not alone and everyone has had those same thoughts while starting fresh and living in a new country.
There are a few wonderful community groups
on social media that can help you connect with families going through the same journey as you are. This can help keep you grounded, getting guidance from families that have navigated the same challenges can help you rest a little easier and it’s always great to be able to share with someone over a glass of beautiful Portuguese wine.
Building A New Life
Moving can be a very stressful time for any family but meeting all the challenges head-on with positivity will make the transition easier. Largely, the transition will be easier if everybody maintains a positive attitude. Remember, the move can be tough on pets and children, so be sure to remain constantly available for them as they transition into their new life.
Algarve is a wonderful place and is well worth any stress that comes with packing up and moving the family.
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