It’s easy to feel like a fish out of water when you move to a new country. You’re often faced with the reality that you’re in a new land with a different language, new currency, new culture and few, if any, acquaintances. While it can seem overwhelming at first, it’s also exciting and one of the best times to explore your new territory. Here’s how to get it done:
Consider yourself lucky. When you immerse yourself in a new culture, it’s easier to pick up the language, and knowing even a little of the local tongue makes you more independent. You’ll be able to order food, hail a ride and strike up a conversation with the local café or bistro staff about the best places to go in the area. You’ll also be able read signs for directions and know where to find a restroom. Try watching local TV shows, introducing yourself to local residents and speaking your new language at every opportunity.
Moving to a new international city gives you the opportunity to make new friends. Try enrolling in classes at a local college or art school, joining a club with other expats, participating in volunteer services or attending fitness classes. These are usually good places to meet people with the same interests. Also, consider meeting up with friends of your friends who may live nearby. You’ll automatically have something in common: your mutual friend. Also try hanging out with coworkers for lunch to get to know them better and maintain new relationships beyond the workplace.
Get to know your city from the standpoint of a local expert. A guided tour will help you learn what your new city has to offer. A local guide can show you all of the best places to go for entertainment, eating and shopping. You can take a themed tour, such as a food tour to explore the city’s different cuisines. Also, consider making it a “moving tour” by cycling or running and explore your new city from a different perspective.
Many international cities offer more than immediately meets the eye through their local parks and cultural attractions. You can discover the history of your new town by visiting a monument, museum or historic park. The local library can get you acquainted with your new city, too, thanks to all of the books packed with history and information about your new international city.
As with any significant life change, moving internationally is easier when you have a plan. In addition to following these tips, check to see if your moving company offers a counselor who can help you with settling in to your new city.