Receiving orders to relocate overseas can be exciting and intimidating all at the same time.
For some, the prospect of moving to a foreign country can be scary-how will I communicate? Will I see be able to visit family? Will I be able to acclimate to a new culture? However, others view traveling overseas with the military to be one of the perks of military life. When else in your life will you be able to live and explore other cultures as part of your job?
Here are a few ways you can prepare when you receive orders overseas.
Learn the Language If you are traveling to a country that speaks a different language it’s helpful to try to learn a few key phrases before you arrive. You new duty station will more than likely have language lessons available but a travel guide with phrases will be helpful on the way to your new home. Think about phrases asking for directions, asking for help, asking for a bathroom-small things you may need to ask for from locals when you first arrive. Once you arrive and get settled, try to make time for language courses to better learn the language of your host country…local residents greatly appreciate the effort to learn their language and it will go a long way in helping you feel comfortable in your new home!
Research Your Host Country Try to learn about your new home. Are there cultural difference to be aware of? Historical significance of the area? Embrace the change and take the opportunity to learn about something different than what you are used to.
Pack Wisely After receiving your orders you should receive information from the Transportation Management Office with details of how your goods will be moved (and your vehicle!) When moving overseas you will have to plan wisely for packing your household goods. When you immediately arrive you will have only what you took to the airport with you. Most moves allow you to pack a certain amount of unaccompanied household goods for faster shipment, as the rest of your things could take weeks to arrive. Think about those items you may need right away-pots and pans, linens, and air mattress-plan ahead so you aren’t inconvenienced.
Contact Your Sponsor You should be assigned a sponsor at your new duty station who can answer questions for you prior to your move. Take advantage of your sponsor’s knowledge of your new home by asking questions about the resources available on post, housing specifics, and anything else you might be curious about. They have been in your shoes and understand your concerns!
Have Fun! You’re about to embark on a new adventure with your family, one that will provide you with treasured memories and unique experiences others only dream of! Sure, there will be ups and downs and adjustments to be made but you are the one who can control your experience. Embrace the next few years and make the most of your time overseas-travel, explore, and take lots of pictures but most of all have fun!