Settling in a foreign country can be quite challenging, especially in the initial days. Don’t get overwhelmed. Instead, calm yourself and try to adapt to your new abode’s new culture and the environment with a strong will. Within a few weeks, you will like the new place and realize the advantages of living overseas.
No matter where you want to relocate or how you want to spend your expatriate days, planning will save you from many last-minute hassles. You must be well prepared to easily adapt to new living conditions and not get overwhelmed by the culture shock.
Here are some tips for settling in a foreign country as an expat, digital nomad, or global citizen:
1. Learn the New Language
If English is not your host country’s primary language, you should learn the new local language as soon as you can. Ideally, it would help if you took language classes at least two months before you make a move. Once you reach your expat destination, practice the new dialect with your neighbors or fellow expats.
Knowing the basics is important to move around or go shopping as soon as you arrive. If English is used widely in your host destination, you need to understand the subtle differences in the ways it is used. For instance, there are minor differences in English spoken in various regions of the United Kingdom. Fluency in the new language will make it easier for you to make friends and communicate with locals effectively.
2. Stay in Touch with Family and Friends
Being in touch with your loved ones and friends is important, especially if you have moved to a foreign country alone. This will assist you in fighting homesickness or loneliness during your early days abroad. These days, you have numerous options to keep in touch with your folks back home.
Facebook chats or video calls on Skype can be a few easy and simple options. If you have an international SIM card, you can also have regular chats over WhatsApp and stay abreast of everything happening back home or your native place.
3. Connect with Fellow Expats through Online Forums
Moving overseas would also mean that you will be part of an exclusive expat or global nomad community. You can get vital tips and guidance from those who have already been there and experienced everything as ex-pats in a foreign land.
Online expat forums are some of the best places where expatriates share their experiences and assist newbies. Join sites like BritishExpats.com and Internations.org to start with and look around for other local forums to get adequate advice.
4. Join Few Local Clubs and Make Friends
Life can get smoother and easier if you are proactive in meeting and knowing the local people around you. For young expat children, schools offer a quick and simple route for meeting new kids. If you have no kids, you can think about joining a couple of local clubs. The locals would be more than happy to welcome you with open arms if you take the initiative to move outdoors and interact with them.
5. Adapt to Local Culture and Customs
Not knowing local customs in a new place can be very embarrassing at times. Every culture or nationality has its set of inherent customs or traditions. Understanding them is important if you want to get integrated into a new society with unfamiliar norms quickly. Initially, you may be forgiven for being ignorant, but later you are expected to follow the traditions that the local people value.
Do detailed research on the local customs while planning to move to a new haven abroad. Similarly, you should also have adequate knowledge of your host nation’s corporate or office culture if you are moving on a job assignment.
Simple things like smoking behavior or greeting gestures can make a big difference when mingling with locals. You can always speak to your colleagues or other expats for basic guidance and know more about what is expected of you as a relatively new expatriate.
6. Be Thoroughly Prepared Before Moving
The basics must be in place before you board the flight for your dream destination. The basics for your initial expatriate days would include opening a bank account if required, internet connection, and household utilities like water supply, electricity, phone, etc. Ideally, it would help if you visited your planned destination at least once before deciding to move there permanently or temporarily. It would help if you also looked into health insurance as some countries hold it mandatory before entry, especially during COVID-19.
During your first few visits, you should explore the neighborhood to see if grocery shops, restaurants, and other key shops are within easy reach. This will help you settle in your new abode in quick time without feeling lost or confused.
Final thoughts on Settling in a Foreign Country
The tips listed above will surely help you in settling in the land of your dreams. However, there is no harm in asking for help or guidance if you find yourself lost. Possibly there would be people who lend you a helping hand when you need it. It is almost impossible to be prepared for every eventuality as an expat, so don’t curse yourself if there are few hiccups along the way.
Be practical and patient. Give yourself sufficient time to settle in and adjust to the new environment. Ultimately you will start liking the new place and get used to all the elements which an expatriate life brings.