Making the best of staying in place

Making the best of staying in place

by Erin Fitzgerald, GMS - Content Manager at Living Abroad LLC

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact everywhere, and in countless areas of daily life.

For many, public health risks also mean temporary delays in their plans to live and work in new locations. Government border closures, decreased transportation availability and other practical considerations have slowed travel to and from many parts of the world to a halt. Nevertheless, it is critically important to be prepared for the return of globalization.

Here are some things that you can do while you wait for international mobility to resume.

Documentation and certification updates

Now more than ever, rapid change in immigration policies and compliance practices are major areas of concern for the international traveler. Governments, globally-mobile employees and the organizations for which they work all have a great deal at stake. Staying on top of expiry dates, application requirements, and deadlines is critical. It can also be worth performing an inventory on personal, professional, and legal documents to determine what challenges may arise later. For example: Should you procure or renew your driving license now and if so, how and where? Will the expiration date on your passport meet the destination country’s requirements on the day or your arrival? Will you need officially certified translations of any of your legal documents, school records, or letters from your bank or employer in order to obtain a visa, or work permit? Evaluating these needs and planning well in advance can help to smooth many of the other processes when it is, at last, time to move.

Check-ups, prescriptions, and other health considerations

Already, we are beginning to see new health-related requirements for entry into countries - most notably, a physical check-up, proof of negative/antibody status for COVID-19 and, in some cases, mandatory post-entry quarantine.

As borders begin to tentatively open, these requirements are likely to increase in the coming months. COVID-19 test results must generally be within a short time frame prior to travel, and scheduling a checkup and test in alignment with this is a good idea. If you are likely to be subject to quarantine, it is important to make arrangements for this well in advance. Now is also a good time to evaluate your other medical needs. Will the medications you take regularly, or the medical equipment you use regularly, be available in your 

destination country? Can you bring supplies with you, or ship them? It’s also important to know that in most cases, pharmacists will only fill prescriptions issued by physicians in the same country. Nevertheless, having a prescription on hand from your home country physician can help expedite the process of obtaining one in your destination country. And, as always, it is wise to evaluate the need for vaccinations and emergency medication when you know you will embark on international travel.

Personal and professional organising

Always felt a little at odds with a scheduling tool, productivity app, or project management software? Attracted to a new way of doing things or solving problems, but haven’t had a chance to try it out? Now might be an excellent time to evaluate or review organization methods. What systems are in line with your goals? What actions seem doable? Taking time for thoughtful analysis and evaluation bolsters the next step, building the relevant habits and practices into your daily life.

Language training

Even if your destination country speaks English in business and everyday life, familiarity with other local languages can help you navigate daily routine and improve your cultural agility. What’s more, learning at least some words and phrases in a local language is often perceived by locals as a courteous gesture.

There are many ways to pursue language learning even if in-person options aren’t currently feasible, ranging from books and podcasts to mobile phone apps and even teleconference classes or tutoring. Pursuing language learning can also be a great way to...

Find communities

During the pandemic, many clubs, organizations, neighborhoods and groups around the world have become more reliant on online communication out of sheer necessity. This has meant new community presences online where previously there were none, and it has also meant upticks in participation for previously established Facebook pages, group texts, Twitter DMs, Meetup sites, Slack channels, Weibo groups and more. Identifying and then participating in these may provide you with valuable information, and even help you establish local friendships ahead of your arrival.


While research on COVID-19 is still relatively new, much of it already points to the importance of maintaining good physical and mental health - and to the challenges of doing so. Fortunately, this is another area where current technology meets new needs. Medical professionals can work with patients via teleconferencing or even texting. Providing medical, diet, exercise, lifestyle and mental health support in these environments, eliminating exposure risk.

Consider taking advantage of expanded or enhanced health services and programs, especially those for which you might newly qualify. In addition, familiarizing yourself with up-to-date information and research on COVID-19, via your own government’s resources or the World Health Organization, can empower you to make the appropriate decisions about how best to pursue self-care.

Even during the best of times, waiting can be frustrating and stressful. Looking ahead and planning for your new relocated future can be a great way to combat anxiety, and prepare for a surge in productivity - both now, and later.