4 tips to ease into your new home as an OFW
Nothing compares to the comforts of your home country, but the reality is many Filipinos need to seek out better opportunities abroad. When you work in a country long enough, and if you’ve found yourself good employers and friends there, it can become your second home.
If you’re starting to work abroad, or are just looking into it, here are some ways to make your big move more comfortable:
1. Figure out your financial situation
First things first: how will you get paid? How will you send money home? The primary motivation for Filipinos to work abroad is financial, so this is the first thing you want to think about before you make your move. Some employers pay in cash, while some set up a bank account for you. If you go through an employment service, find out whether you’ll be paid by them, or directly from your employer.
Next, you want to figure out where your money is going, and how it’s getting there. Decide on how much you will need to spend daily, and how much you can save for the future. You don’t want to be stuck in a foreign country without cash, especially when the cost of living is different from what you’re used to.
If you have a family back home to take care of, or a loan to pay off, calculate how much money you need to send each time. Then, find the cheapest way to send it. Learn how a caregiver in Singapore saves both time and money when sending remittances
2. Navigate your new country and its culture
Each country has its own laws, social rules, and cultural norms. Before you go, research on them so that you can assimilate a little faster. You may be a stranger in the country, but you don’t have to feel strange there.
If you’re already there, one of the best ways to figure out what a place is like is to go the the market. Even if you don’t speak the language, you can see what people are like based on their interactions. It will help you gauge how your employers and co-workers act in different situations, and show you what they value.
On a more serious note, make sure to know the laws that govern your newly adopted country. Middle Eastern states are known to be very strict, while some European countries are far more liberal. Always have your papers in order, and never miss a deadline. Find out about labor laws and what your benefits and limits are. Know what payments you have to make there and back home. Coins.ph can help you pay for your SSS and Pag-ibig contributions, as well as insurance payments
3. Find friends or a Filipino community
Even before you leave, try to connect to Filipinos living where you want to live. With 10% of the Filipino population abroad and almost half the entire population on Facebook, there’s bound to be someone in your network! They can give you a better idea of life there – what the culture is like, where the friendliest places are to live, what to expect from your employers and what they expect from you.
Know where your nearest embassy or consulate is, and remember to renew your permits on time. Same goes for the office of your employment agency. If you know the address of where you’re going to live or work, look for the nearby Catholic church or hospital. Chances are you’ll find a Filipino there. Some Filipinos may be cursed with crab mentality, but most of your countrymen will always be willing to welcome you in.
More importantly, having a community to turn to, a group of people who know what it’s like to be where you are, can really help you when things get tough or you’re feeling lonely. We also set up a Coins.ph Community group on Facebook especially for OFWs! Click here to join
4. Have your homesick cures: rice and the internet
When homesickness hits the stomach, it hits hard. Sometimes, the easiest way to get a feel for home is to eat it. And if you’re one of the millions working in countries full of bread and potatoes, nothing says home more than a cup of warm rice. There are Asian stores all over the world, and your new-found friends will surely show you where to find the familiar foods you crave.
Figure out where you can access the internet. Almost every house and office has it, but in case you’re not that lucky, find a phone plan that has it. If there’s one thing you want to splurge on, it’s this. Connectivity is absolutely important. You may not be in your beloved country, but you can virtually bring yourself home by calling your loved ones.You can even load their phone from wherever you are with Coins.ph
If the guilt of leaving makes your heart heavy, remember that your first home will always be there. You’re not turning your back on it, you’re not leaving your loved ones for nothing. You’re entering a brave new world, setting a new adventure, and seeking out a better life for yourself and your family.