Thanks to television travel channels, internet vacation sites, and humanity's natural instinct for exploration, thousands of people every year pull up their roots and fly off to live abroad. Some stay for a few months or years, some like it so much they decide to stay forever. The trend even works in reverse: citizens of countries we Canadians think of as 'abroad', like France, Russia, Italy, South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom, are relocating to Harbourfront condos in droves, either for work or to see something new for a change. The principles of living abroad are the same no matter which country you're heading for or which you left and a major one is that renting a place is the way to go.
Renting is the ideal housing situation for someone moving to a different country without a clear idea of how long they're going to stay. While you may love it and eventually opt to purchase a property outright, you don't want to be saddled with full ownership of a house or flat in a city you'd rather be rid of. Hotel fees can add up fast and hostels lack privacy, so you wouldn't want to pursue either of those options as a long term solution either. It is much better to find a foreign equivalent townhouses where you can rent by the month, and have the option of leaving every 30 days.
Your best plan is to stay in a hotel or hostel when you first arrive to avoid signing a rental agreement on a place you haven't yet seen with your own two eyes. Operate a major rental property hunting expedition from your hotel room. You can either enlist the aid of a local realtor or pick up some newspapers and start calling the landlords advertising apartments. Check out every flat above every growers supplies store in the wine country and every rental townhouse near the village square you can find until you locate one that is both a) not a dump and b) affordable. Once you've found a good one you can move out of the hotel.
Ideally you'd have a job lined up before you left your home country but that's not always the case, especially if you've moved away on an adventurous impulse. So if you don't already have a job you'll need to look for one in addition to looking for an apartment. You can either find an apartment first and then look for a job near it or find a job and look for an apartment near it. What you want to avoid is living downtown while working in the outskirts in a factory that makes plumbing supplies or something. As fascinating as suction diffusers are, you're going to end up resenting the commute and if you don't know the area well you could end up walking through sketchy parts of town after hours.
When everything is arranged to your satisfaction and you're happily living in a flat overlooking a quaintly cobblestoned square, you'll be glad you took the time to do things right.