Moving abroad can be an exciting and rewarding adventure. That being said, it can also be daunting in the beginning. To help you settle in, here are essential tips on getting comfortable in a new home abroad.
1. Bring Momentos From Home
Just because you’ve moved abroad doesn’t mean you should forget your roots. It’s the momentos you’ve had surrounding you all your life that will help you relax and truly feel at home in your new place. That’s not to say you should live in the past and not allow yourself to move forward, but photos and tokens can help you relive happy memories and feel like the world is that much smaller.
2. Find Your Local “Spots”
When somewhere is a home, you have certain places you frequent all the time: a gym, a morning coffee spot, a barber/hairdresser, a grocery store, your favorite Chinese takeout spot, the best bar for a happy hour cocktail. Seek out local places you love and frequent them regularly until the owners know you by name, you’ve made friends with the staff and you feel completely comfortable there.
Before you decorate and personalize your new place it will never feel like home, but instead a temporary setup. Put up pictures, buy artwork, get furniture, place scented candles around, purchase a new bedspread. Anything to make your new digs feel like home.
4. Get A Job
Getting a job will not only allow you gain a better understanding of the culture, but it will give you a sense of belonging and contributing to local society. Even if it’s simply bartending at a nearby watering hole or answering phones at a pizza place, you’ll earn money while implanting yourself in the community, helping your new place feel like home.
5. Get Involved
Sign up for classes, join a sports team, get involved in a local charity. Becoming a part of groups can help you make friends and learn more about local opportunities. Not sure where to start? Meetup hosts groups all over the world. And if you don’t see one of interest, you can always start your own.
6. Explore The Neighborhoods
Even if you’re not a writer, it can be helpful to create quasi- city guides to give yourself a mission and ensure you’re paying attention and truly learning about your new home. I recommend giving yourself mini missions in different spots — finding the best tacos or meeting local artisans — to gain a deeper understanding of the place you’re in. You may even want to start a blog, journal or Instagram account to record your findings.
7. Join CouchSurfing
CouchSurfing isn’t just great for finding free couches to sleep on, but also for meeting up with locals. The website has city-specific forums where you can post telling people you’ve just arrived in town and are looking for someone to show you around. Plan meetups or see what others have posted to join theirs. Other apps that help you meet locals include Highlight, Tripr and Skout, to name a few.