Moving to a new house is no mean feat, but it becomes particularly difficult when you’re emigrating. Settling down in a new country is, unfortunately, not as simple as working out where you can buy the best coffee and get a bargain on your weekly shop. You also have to make an effort to adapt to local customs and integrate with your new neighbours. If you’re wondering about the best way to do that, read on.
Learn the language!
If you’re moving to a country that primarily speaks a different language, take the leap and book yourself some lessons before you move. English speakers will not have a problem moving to Canada, Australia or the US – and indeed, will be able to get by in many other countries, due to English being so widely spoken. But if you’re moving to a place like Greece, China or India, understand that you’re missing out on a huge portion of the cultural experience (and jeopardising your work life) if you don’t engage with the language. Once there, you’ll be surprised how quickly you learn.
Do as the locals do
Making a big move across the world can be scary and isolating. So it’s understandable to find yourself reaching for home comforts, whether it’s serving up beans on toast for dinner, or spending your evenings streaming your favourite TV series. But instead of making a habit of this homesick behaviour, push yourself to engage in new experiences – specifically those enjoyed by the locals. Avoid tourist hotspots, and get some recommendations from neighbours, friends and colleagues for restaurants, bars, cafés, scenic spots, and shops that they love. These hangouts may seem alien at first, but in time they’ll become new favourites.
Put on your walking shoes (and get lost)
Working out public transport links when you arrive in a new place is really important, but there’s no substitute for wandering around a new town or city on foot. Pack some cash and a bottle of water, pull on some comfy shoes, and – resisting the urge to rely on Google Maps – start walking. If you do get lost, ask a local for directions; it can be a great way to try out those budding language skills.
Respect the local customs
Visit any country in the world and you’ll find that the society is built upon layers of social customs – some of which are so deeply embedded, the locals are barely aware that they may seem strange to outsiders. In China, for instance, putting your hands in or on your mouth is considered rude. When moving to a new country, particularly one where another language is spoken, these customs can be hard to get your head around – but it’s important to make the effort early on. And remember, if you do get it wrong, be gracious and apologise! Local communities are usually very forgiving of new arrivals.
If you’re moving to a new country, the chances are you’re an adventurous soul, so don’t let that confidence fail you once you’ve arrived. It can be intimidating, but if you’re willing to try lots of new things, you’ll quickly settle.
1st Move international are an international removals company based in the UK