Packed, travelled, landed, unpacked, settled. The first few months in your new home, in the a new country have been hectic and a little crazy. You’ve been taking care of all the minute details which go into an overseas move: job searching, apartment hunting, finding schools for your kids, setting up a bank account, dealing with bureaucracy, filling out paperwork, etc. Your jetlag is finally behind you and the culture shock is wearing off. Now, it’s time to actually settle into your new surroundings and make your home a home.
Moving to a New Country is Overwhelming
Moving to another country may be exciting and full of promise, but there is no doubt about it: The experience can be overwhelming, even if you are prepared and confident going into it. New people, new sights and sounds, a foreign language, and unfamiliar routes and routines are all part of the package. Added to this is the emotional stress of having to say goodbye to friends and family. The good news is that there are many steps you can take to help adjust to your new life, make the transition smoother, and successfully settle into the place you now call home.
International Relocation: Tips for Settling In
Use the Language: Many people moving to a foreign country wisely begin learning the language before they arrive. However to really settle into your new surroundings, it’s time to put all the skills you have acquired into action. Whether you chat with the neighbors, strike up a conversation at the park, or shop at the grocery store, you’ll be surprised how quickly your language skills improve and how speaking the language helps you overcome cultural differences.
Keep in mind that even if you can ‘get by’ in English (in most urban centers around the world), clinging to your native tongue may prevent you from fitting in and limit your opportunities. Moreover, the locals will appreciate your efforts of communicating with them in their own language and reward you with a warm reception.
Mingle with the Locals
It may be tempting to gravitate toward other expats and share with them the experience of living in a foreign country. However, if you truly want to adjust to the new culture and people, start hanging out with the locals. Try the local food, familiarize yourself with the social customs, and take yourself out of your comfort zone. By taking this major step, you’ll adjust much faster to living in a new country and enjoy a life-altering experience.
Explore the Area
Although you’ve already researched where to live and have found accommodations, it’s time to buy a local map and truly begin to explore your new neighborhood. Whether you walk or drive, learn the layout of the land, looking for:
Shops and cafes
Local bus routes
The nicest parks
Where to buy fresh produce
Local community center
Historic sites and major attractions
Get Involved with the Community
Finally, a great way to settle into any new country is to become involved with the community. You can volunteer your time, attend local events, help out at your kids’ schools, sign up for recreational activities, etc. The more you become involved, the more rewarding surprises you’ll discover about your new hometown!
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.