Moving abroad for work is a big step in anybody’s life. No matter what country you move to, you will always miss certain things about your hometown. This is only normal, and the beginning stages of a new chapter are often daunting and challenging. However, moving abroad is also a time for growth, new opportunities, and life-changing experiences. In these circumstances it is best to grab the bull by its horns and immerse yourself into this new stage of your life. Here are a few of the best ways that you can make your new country feel a little more like home.
One of the first steps to feeling at home in a foreign country is to get all of your tedious paperwork out of the way. When people talk about their experiences of moving abroad, they rarely mention all of the hassles that it incurs. This includes things like obtaining a visa, finding a place to live, opening your bank account, shipping your things over, and even sorting out health insurance. Until you sort out all of the legal and financial logistics of the relocation, you won’t be able to truly relax. Have a look at this moving abroad checklist to make sure that you have covered all of the basics. Once you have settled into your new house you can begin to make it feel like a home.
Learning the local language will do wonders for your level of comfort. You may be moving to a country with a large number of English speakers, however, never assume that everyone will speak your language. Start by slowly learning the basics, you can buy a small phrasebook, or even download an app like Duolingo. Once you have mastered the basics, you can start taking lessons. Not only will learning the local language make life much easier, but it can also help you foster connections with the local population. Fun ways to become more fluent include watching TV and listening to music in the local language, or even finding a conversation partner.
Get in touch with ex-pats who are also in a similar situation. You can even do this before you mover over. This way you can ask any important questions, like what are the best neighborhoods to live in, or what are the best schools for international children, before you immigrate. There are many groups on Facebook that foster connections between ex-pats. This is a great place to find like-minded people who have encountered the same difficulties whilst moving abroad. You can build a small support network and exchange tips on how to settle into your new country.
Do the things you love, no matter where you are. If you have a hobby like yoga or hiking, you will surely find a group of individuals doing these same activities abroad. You will be able to have a great time doing the things that you love whilst simultaneously meeting new people and getting to know the area better. Joining a local sports league, charity, or club can help you get out of your comfort zone. Hobbies and sports are a great way to make you feel like you are an integrated part of the community. Don’t be afraid to ask your team mates to hang out and show you around. There is no better way to get to grips with your new area than to be shown around by a local.
Settle into your new way of life and the local office culture. Every country has their own way of conducting business, so don’t worry if it takes a while to get used to. Ask your colleagues what they expect from you in this new work environment. Cultural norms vary from country to country, and this affects everything, from introductions to the structure of meetings. In order to make a great impression, do your research before moving. The same goes for social etiquette. Drinking culture, smoking behaviors, and even personal space are important social factors that differ across regions. However, don’t worry too much, your friends or colleagues will be there to help. Most importantly, be patient, you cannot expect to learn the ins and outs of a new culture in a short period of time.
Even if you move with your entire family, living in a foreign country will always be difficult at first, so make sure to persevere during the first couple of months. After you have settled in and begun to enjoy your experience, remember that this is an opportunity that you cannot miss. Living in different countries gives you a whole new outlook on life. You will meet interesting new people, learn exciting new skills, and hopefully look back on your time spent abroad with fondness and nostalgia.
One way that an expat can get themselves set up in a new country is by teaching English online (or in person). The TEFL Academy is the leading English language teacher training body and had recently released it’s TEFL World Factbook that will give you the full picture of what it is like to teach English in every country in the world.