The decision to move abroad and live the life of an expat is a path that is not easy to choose. On the other hand, it is an amazing experience. You get to expand your horizons, and discover new cultures and improve your professional expertise in a new environment. This can be challenging, especially for beginners leaving the UK. Here are some tips for adapting to life in a foreign country.
Learn or Perfect the Language
You have to learn the language of the country in which you will live. Let’s face it: you will not be fluent in a month, but you must at least learn the basics. Do not leave it at the last minute and think that everything will be fine. If you do not speak the language, you may have difficulty getting things done and navigating your way through your new life might prove even more complicated. You can get started by downloading a language app like Babbel for example. This is a great way to get introduced to a new language or for practising it if you already know the basics. Plus, it is much cheaper compared to taking classes.
Get All of Your Things in Order Before Leaving
Make sure that everything is in order in your country before you leave. This will help you avoid additional costs of having to go back to your home country to settle pending issues. This will also assist in eliminating confusion which may affect you in your new country.
Research and Learn About the Culture
Familiarity with habits and behaviours in your chosen country can greatly facilitate your communication. Cultural norms vary greatly from country to country, and a little enquiry can save you from social mistakes. Internet in general is a great resource where you can learn a lot.
Look For Expat Groups on Social Media As Well As Local Organizations
On social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, some groups focus on expats in your region. However, you can sieve out the noise by linking a particular social group that suits your interests and age. InterNations has network groups in 390 cities around the world and organizes group events in addition to its shared network.
Join a Sports Group
If you’re into sports, joining a sports club or gym is a very good way to socialize and make new friends. You get to interact with those training you and other players/members. Most sports clubs also organize annual dinners or parties and this also is a great social setting that will give you the opportunity to meet people.
Be a Tourist and Get to Know Your New Home
Once you have figured out transportation and know your way around the new territory, enjoy your free time being a tourist. Take a gastronomic tour, visit the main attractions, go explore a part of the city where you’ve never been before. Engage in local activities: watch a performance or a traditional dance night; take a look at the local street market. Find ways to explore your new city so you can feel like a local and start a new life.
Be Social and Don’t Pass Up Opportunities to Make New Friends
There are many ways to make friends, but contact as many people as possible. Your initial friends can be coworkers! Then join the clubs, attend language courses, volunteer or find a sports team (like mentioned above). As a foreigner, it can be difficult, but you have to go there to build a new network.
Get Involved in the Community
Participate in “your” community. Regardless of where you are in the world, there will be persons like you, with similar interests, lifestyles and passions. Browse through Facebook groups and city sites to find meetings and organizations in your new place. Contact others who live there and ask which community groups they are involved in.
Give Yourself Time and Be Patient
When you move somewhere new, the first few weeks are rather stressful- even more so when you’re going to a foreign country and starting over. Take your time. You do not have to set up the whole apartment in one weekend. It’s also important to find friends, learn about and explore your city. You cannot speed up the process. It takes so much time to prepare for the move that your first days, even the first few months, should be slower. This is the best way to immerse yourself in a new environment.
In conclusion, leaving everything and going abroad is an exciting but scary experience that makes a person grow. It is worth taking the risk.