Southeast Asia is known for its natural beauty, dynamic culture, and warm climate. It also hosts a surprising number of international business headquarters, making it a hub for ambitious professionals from around the world. Many of the countries in Southeast Asia provide ideal circumstances for digital nomads in search of a more engaging and conducive work environment.
If you’re considering a move to Southeast Asia, here are a few things you’ll need to take into account.
You’ll need to brush up on your language skills. While English is increasingly widespread across the globe, particularly in tourist hotspots, staying long-term means you’ll need to learn to communicate with the locals. Some regions, countries, cities, and even neighborhoods, offer more services in English than others, but you should be prepared to learn at least basic courtesies, directions, and simple phrases.
You will probably need vaccinations before you travel. It depends on specifically where you’re headed and how long you plan to be there, but warm-climate destinations tend to host more viruses and it may be in your best interest to guard against illness before moving to another country. It is essential to check with a doctor who will advise you on what is required to protect you, also your family if they are traveling with you.
The travel itself will be exhausting. International flights generally require you to be at the airport up to three hours in advance, not to mention the long flight times, the customs lines, and the jet-lag. You may find shipping most of your luggage separately to be cheaper and less of a hassle, especially if you have children with you. Carry on entertainment devices, earplugs, eye masks, and large scarves or small blankets can help you pass the time in more comfort.
The services and infrastructure of Asia will be very different. Try to get your medical and dental care up to date before leaving to avoid needing to deal with this issue right away. Depending on your destination, there may be excellent quality healthcare, or little care at all. Many people find shopping is a challenge at first because the food carried in local stores is different than they’re used to.
If you have children, you’ll need to consider the school situation. There’s an obvious language and cultural barrier attached to using a local school, so an international school would be your best bet. Local international schools in Singapore offer English-language instruction and a globally recognized curriculum, making the transition easier for kids both coming and going. You’ll find such schools in the larger cities.
A move to Southeast Asia is an exciting opportunity, whether you’re developing your career, finding more flexibility in your lifestyle, or simply taking the family on an adventure. Prepare to make the most of it by researching and having a plan ahead of time, by picking up some basic language skills, taking care of basic health concerns, and finding a great school for the kids. Those preparations will make the whole family’s transition easier and more successful.