Moving to a different country can be an intimidating experience, but it may be necessary for your work, to stay near loved ones, or in order to improve your quality of life. Whether you have total freedom over where you relocate to, or your destination is dictated by work opportunities and accessibility, there is bound to be a settling in process when you first arrive.
This can be made much easier for you if you reach out to the local community in your new home. People are usually very receptive to newcomers if they take a friendly interest in fitting comfortably into the established neighbourhood ways, and will often welcome a fresh pair of eyes with which to approach local issues. It’s natural to worry about whether or not you will be welcomed into your new district, but getting involved with regional activities will help you to feel more settled and quickly become a part of your new community.
First of all, there’s a high possibility that the country you move to will speak a different language to you. In many countries around the world, English is a shared language, even if it’s not the mother tongue of the people that live there. This means that you will be able to communicate about practicalities and make yourself understood, but you will never feel like a real resident unless you at least have a loose grasp on the local dialect.
Platforms like Rosetta Stone and Preply provide the perfect opportunity to pick up vocabulary and practice pronunciation on your own, but it’s vital that you submerge yourself in places where the language you’re studying is spoken freely and naturally. This will allow you to pick up on common turns of phrase, correct local pronunciation and context for many of the new words you are learning.
Before you know it, you’ll be chatting away like you’ve spoken this new language your whole life, and people will really appreciate the effort that you’ve put in to communicating more effectively.
One activity that often needs no language, simply a shared love for the game, is sport. Even if you don’t consider yourself a sporty person, it’s a good idea to check out what the local pastime is and give it a try. Not only will this provide you with an insight into the nuances of local culture, but it will also give you the perfect opportunity to get to know your neighbours.
Take Iceland, for example. If you find yourself this far north, then you would do well to brush up on the rules of handball, the country’s national sport. Alternatively, if you move to South Korea, you may discover a new found interest in tae kwon do, jogku or ssireum, all localised branches of sport with big competitions and events attached.
Sport is not the only activity that people indulge in during their leisure time. Entertainment in different parts of the world ranges from cinema trips to table games to enjoying live music and more. If you wanted to brush up on your knowledge of French cinema before taking a trip to the nearest big screen, you can use online streaming services. Likewise, websites such as PokerStarsCasino are a great way to familiarise yourself with the rules of popular table games, and Artlist host huge libraries of music that you can sample and use to hone your taste before attending local gigs.
Naturally, you will pick up tips and advice from friends as you get to know the people in your new area, but it’s a good idea to gain a little bit of confidence in new subjects at home before you venture out into society. This means that conversation will be able to flow more freely, and you’ll find these ventures more enjoyable.
One aspect of life in a new country that simply cannot be left off this list is food. Local cuisine is often an essential part of an area’s identity and can vary significantly from region to region, even within the same country. The fun part for you, as an expat, is getting to discover the rich assortment of different tastes, smells and textures that come with learning new dishes and methods of cooking.
Beyond looking up recipes on the internet and watching cooking shows a television, a great way to familiarise yourself with the local cuisine is to attend a cooking class. This has the added benefit of providing the opportunity to try out your new language skills and engage someone in conversation about the latest big sporting match in the area
See how it all comes together? Whilst moving to a new place, however far away from your home, can feel overwhelming, it can also be the ideal moment to forge new connections and uncover new things to enjoy about life.