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Jessica Felsenthal: The Great Relocation Challenge

It takes a lot of preparation and hard work to move abroad. Our Relocation Consultant, Jessica Felsenthal, knows all about it.

Holy crap! I had so much to do and felt seriously overwhelmed. Where to start? It was curious; I had done film and television production practically all my working life, making the seemingly impossible possible. I used to be capable of nailing jelly to a wall, of finding that rare singing purple elephant or simply scheduling unschedulable actors, and somehow, I couldn’t get this done?! This should’ve been a walk in the park! Even though I was moving within Europe, it almost felt as if I was going halfway across the world. Every time I’d scratched something off my list, a new task seemed to be arising. 

Checklist pre-move tasks:

  • Downsize (sell) stuff and declutter!!!
  • Clear apartment of personal belongings and store boxes
  • Take photos of the apartment, place add, find a tenant 
  • Research rental law, determine terms, set up a lease agreement
  • Take out extra policy to cover damage to apartment/remaining items caused by the tenant
  • Sort out banking, insurance abroad / international phone plan
  • Ask a friend to pick up mail and hold/forward it
  • Cancel memberships
  • Research cost of living and calculate the personal budget
  • Arrange flight + find accommodation for the first month
  • Research on essential documents needed for local government
  • Gather original copies of official documents for local government
  • See friends, say goodbye
  • Pack suitcases/boxes to bring along
  • Deregister from the current municipality
  • Go to the hairdresser
  • And so much more

This is what I could think of so far. What if I overlooked something crucial? Deregister from current municipality… Was this really necessary? Shouldn’t I just stay registered in case I’d change my mind and would want to move back in a few months? All of a sudden, I found myself googling a relocation agency. I picked a random company and dialled the number. I had so many questions! As would be expected, the woman on the other end of the line didn’t exactly know about the rules of Spain, but she patiently told me what she did know. It was funny… here I was, already halfway to Spain, when I began asking her detailed info about her job and if they had regular openings! What an interesting job she had… I bookmarked the company’s page and went on with my busy day.

Moving to a different country is challenging to say the least. I was certainly in for a surprise thinking the preparation was the hardest part. Admittedly, I already knew the Spanish language, I’d planned to do an intensive 1-month training to obtain a qualification for teaching English. I’d found myself a place to live during that month. As for the rest… I’d Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moed the city I was going to (Sevilla in Andalusia). I knew no one. I had no plan or guarantee for what would happen after, and my tenant in Amsterdam had signed the lease for an initial 3 months with an option to extend.

In the following 3 months, I got my certificate, found a job as an English teacher, met friends for life, built a small clientele for my massage business and ultimately ended up living in stunning Seville for 3,5 years. I’ll spare you the details about my many house searches and peculiar flatmates! (if you’re really keen on details, you know where to find me). To cut a long story short, it honestly was the most awesome, lonely, enriching, social, terrifying and enlightening learning experience ever. I had to come completely out of my shell (read: comfort zone) and felt more vulnerable than ever before: in hindsight probably the only way to go about it. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world and recommend it to everyone.

Eventually, I made a hard but considered decision to move back to Amsterdam. Guess what was the first thing I did before packing my bags again? I dug up the saved bookmark and sent out my cv to several relocation companies! I figured that this type of job would embody everything that had formed me: my organisational and communication skills in film production, my love for languages, my expat life, and my drive to take care of people. I feel super lucky to have found Your Talent Agency and the opportunity to make life easier for others going through the same process I went through at the time. And to have yet again found a gratifying career path that never has a dull moment. Perhaps I’ll tell you about that some other time…