Uprooting your life and moving abroad is a huge upheaval for anyone, but with great change often comes great opportunity, and there is a lot to be embraced with such a move.
While living abroad is a big life change, usually it is a fantastic one, and once you’re all settled you can look to the future and enjoy every second. Although every expat would love plenty of time to settle into their new home, for many this is unfortunately not an option. Work, family and other commitments mean that often you land, unpack and have to get straight to the routine of everyday expat life.
So, short of a few weeks to find your feet and get your bearings, how can you best settle in with ease? The seven tips below will help you get to grips with your new surroundings so that you feel at home within no time at all.
Update your news sources
There are now lots of news sources and specialist websites and publications focusing on British expats and the expat lifestyle. ExpatRoute is one such site, specialising in financial news that relates to those living abroad, advising on the latest in expat pensions, overseas banking development, tax planning and other relevant stories. Similarly, there are websites focusing on specific communities abroad and on translating news from around the world into English for those who are still working on their bilingual capabilities.
Get out and about
It can seem as though you are not getting to see much of your new home, particularly if you are working long hours and only really sleeping at home before getting up again and heading back to it. Taking the time to roam your new local neighbourhood can be hugely beneficial, even if it is just for an early morning stroll around the block or a late-night run around the locale. You are bound to spot something new on every trip out and it will help you gain your bearings and pick out spots to return to on your days off.
Find your tribe
Communities living abroad often foster their own groups and clubs, and in big cities it can seem as though you are never far away from an expat society. Google, join Facebook Groups and ask around in your new hometown to link up with those who have already made the move, they can help stem feelings of home sickness and give great advice about the lifestyle, while encouraging you to join in with events with like-minded individuals.
Look after yourself
Moving abroad is both a physical and mental upheaval and prioritising your own wellbeing throughout the settling in period is key. Make time to do something you enjoy and be sure to take some time to yourself every day, even if it is just a few breaths over your morning coffee or a spot of meditation in the mornings.
Be a tourist in your own hometown
In the UK, we are often guilty of having visited plenty of places elsewhere but never explored our own hometown or city. You are in a new place, so why not get to know it? Take part in some of the local popular tourist visits and attractions on offer to learn more of the place, and don’t be afraid to tell those you come into contact with that you have just moved there. Who knows, they may just be able to offer up some friendly advice or tips on the area that you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.
Keep several payment options available
Finances in a new country can take a little while to sort out, and some countries are more lax about deadlines and customer service standards than others. Be sure to keep a couple of cards and cash around for at least the first few weeks so that if one payment option doesn’t work, you have a back-up.
Keep a ‘visiting home’ basket
If you are prone to homesickness or are intending on visiting your home country, keeping all of your essential items for that country in one box or basket can be helpful. Not only do you have everything ready to grab and go when you next travel, but so too do you have a little box of reminiscence whenever you need it. Pack your keys, any cards or passes, your passport and some photos and trinkets that make you smile.