Expat's Manual

Once the excitement of moving overseas has subsided you will face a whole new challenge; settling in. It is of vital importance that anyone who moves abroad adjusts to their new lives as quickly as possible. The sooner you realize that the move is permanent life should go on as normal, the better it will be for yourself and your family.

One of the best ways to settle in quickly is to make your new house as ‘homely’ as possible so that it feels like somewhere you can belong. While at first your new home and apartment may be quite sterile and unfamiliar, it is up to you to decorate and make it as welcoming as you can. A good way to do this is to put up photos of family and friends, pictures which were once hung up in your old house, furnish it in whatever style you prefer and accessorize each room with ornaments that you have brought with you. The sooner your place feels like home, the easier settling in will be.

Another good way of settling in to life in a foreign country is to locate the nearest supermarkets and find out where you can buy products that you are familiar with. While most household goods will be fairly similar, you may find that beauty products and food items from your home country are harder to come by. Asking for advice on expat forums about where to buy your favorite products can be very useful. Alternatively you can ask friends or family to send some over for you. It is common for supermarkets (especially throughout Asia and the Middle East) to stock a small selection of Western brands. While they may cost double the price that you would usually spend on them, sometimes the expense will be worth it. However, here's a small warning. Don't be tempted to totally recreate the life you had in your home country in your host country, this defeats the purpose of moving overseas in the first place and doing this will really limit the potential rewards of experiencing life in a new culture.

Settling in to a country means making it your own. If you like to eat out, you should find a restaurant that you like and try to make it there a couple of times a month. You will soon get to know the staff and it will be somewhere familiar for you to visit if you are ever in need of company. The same goes for a bar. There are expat bars found throughout the world and these are some of the best places to meet new friends and like-minded people. They are often the focus of the expat community and excellent places to socialize.

If you have a hobby or regular activity that you enjoyed while you were back home, try to keep it up while you are away. This will not only be a source of relaxation, but also a very good way to keep your familiar routine. Many expat destinations have private clubs where you can meet fellow expats whilst participating in social events and other activities such as tennis, golf, squash etc.

They key to settling in and enjoying your new location is to embrace the new experience it offers you. Don't focus too much on what you are missing from back home but instead enjoy the new environment, hobbies and activities that wouldn't have been available in your home country. Living abroad can be amazing, don't let it pass you by without taking from it the best possible experience.

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Our Expat's Manual is updated regularly so comments about the article may have already been addressed.

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