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Things I wish I knew before overseas attachment!

Large Wreath

Brought to you by:

WE Development

Large Wreath

Content written by:

Tricia Chan

Last Updated:

9 June 2021 at 2:59:14 am

Image by Daniel Mirlea

Some friends became enemies after overseas attachment...

Going for overseas attachment is fun! However, potential conflicts may arise due to view differences when facing uncertainty overseas. Here, we provide six tips to help you!

1) Destination

2) Luggage

3) Culture Shock

4) Accommodation

5) Food

6) Expenses

1) Destination

- Consider safety and interest of country such as;

Prevalence of common crimes

Quality of healthcare

Convenience for road trips

Place of interests

Other factors discussed in later sections

- Get in touch with seniors or friends who have previously gone for overseas attachment and ask them about;

Pros and cons of overseas attachment

Criteria to choose the country

Personal experiences

- If traveling in a group, you may want to consider how to travel to your destination. 

Some may wish to travel before the attachment, hence may book a flight to somewhere first and transit later on. 

For traveling within the same country, some may wish to take a train, sleeper bus, rent a car, or take an internal flight

2) Luggage

Ever wonder what to bring for a prolonged period of stay? Limitations in luggage space may be a constraint, especially when visiting a cold country where winter clothes take up the majority of volume and space.

- Do not overpack

Bring basic clothing such as neutral colored ones for convenience in matching outfits

Bring only 1 to 2 cold wear that is sufficient to protect you as they take up space

Bring microfiber towels that are water absorbent yet do not take up much space

Ensure you have enough space in your luggage to bring back goodies!

- Bring Necessary items

Avoid bringing items that can be easily provided or bought overseas

If possible, refrain from bringing large and heavy unnecessary items such as musical instruments, dumbbells, cosmetic collections, and jewelry boxes

3) Culture Shock

Imagine living elsewhere that is vastly different from home, where people, language, cultures, and lifestyles are foreign. For example, Asians may be surprised by how uncommon rice can be found in restaurants in France.

- When there are opportunities to speak to locals, build courage, and interact with them. Ask them about their lives, standard of living, and places of interest. However, take note to:

- Embrace their culture by respecting their ways of living, accents, languages, and religions

- Do not be rude when conversing, do not imitate their accents, show offensive gestures or ask questions that are offensive or belittling in nature

- Communicate in simple English as locals may not understand. Portray yourself as friendly and approachable but do take note of your safety when approaching strangers.

4) Accommodation

When overseas, it is essential to have comfortable and safe accommodation. What are the considerations when you are finding a place to stay?

- Convenience

Ensure it is located near a bus stop and train station for traveling accessibility

Ensure it is located near a supermarket for easy purchase of daily necessities

Ensure it is located near the attachment location to reduce the time required to travel

- Safety and Comfort

Consider the safety aspect for any urgent situation, for example, knowing the location of the nearest police station, pharmacy, and hospital

- Reasonable cost

Avoid unnecessary costs for additional amenities such as cleaning and laundry services. If you can do it yourself, why not save money?

5) Food

Are you worried about the unfamiliar and overpriced ethnic cuisine?

- Limit consumption of meals outside

In some Western countries, as meals are typically priced above SGD 10, eating out daily can be unsustainable over time.

- Cook at home

Go grocery shopping for familiar ingredients and prepare your own meals. Often, the cost per meal of grocery shopping is way lower than that of eating out!

You may also get to cook with friends! However, note that a shared kitchen means you have the responsibility to keep them clean for other users.

- Indulge and enjoy

An overseas experience would be incomplete if you do not try the country’s national dishes! 

6) Expenses

Conflicts may occur during the splitting and spending of expenses, especially when traveling with a group of friends.

- Collect a sum of money from each individual to be used for group expenses and set up a group treasury to enable effortless and convenient division of expenses in a group

- Consider using bill splitting mobile application, for example; “Splitwise”

- Beware of possible conflict on how the money is spent

- Since you decide to join in the group treasury, either communicate or compromise to resolve any conflicts

- A voting system is an excellent way to help make decisions on how the money is spent

Additional Tips

- If you are renting a car, you may want to consider having a GPS as some areas are too remote to access internet for location

- If you are intending to go camping, you have to consider that campsites has to be booked. You can't camp as and when you need. These campsites usually have simple facilities for toilets and located near supermarkets.

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