We all know that moving can be stressful, but moving to another city – or even country? Yikes! The thought can seem completely overwhelming.
Those first few weeks of living in London as an American expat were not easy. Everything was unfamiliar, a little scary, and very intimidating. Even the simplest tasks such as grocery shopping or going to the bank became something I had to learn how to do all over again. During that time I found a few things that really helped me feel more comfortable in my new surroundings. Whether you’re moving away from home for college, starting a new job, or just need a fresh start in a new place – this post is for you!
- Be sentimental about what you pack. Particularly when moving to a completely new city or country, it can be easy to adapt the “less is more” approach and get rid of almost everything. While I definitely think there’s something to be said about getting rid of the things you can live without, I do think it’s important to bring with you a few sentimental items, no matter how silly or small! When we first moved into our new London flat, our boxes hadn’t arrived yet and I just couldn’t help but feel like it wasn’t home. As soon as everything arrived and I was able to put up the sentimental decor pieces I had brought, they instantly added the coziness and familiarity that our space was so desperately missing. Be sure to bring with you the things that make you feel most at home.
- Become familiar with your new neighborhood. This is especially important if you’re moving to a large city – it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Spend your first few weekends exploring and trying new local spots. Where’s your closest grocery store? Pharmacy? Nail salon? Perhaps you like to have a cup of coffee in the mornings – where’s the best spot to grab a cup before work? Where is the nearest subway or bus stop? What’s the best route to take to go on a run? Is there a park nearby? Learning all of these things will help make your new city feel more familiar, and a little less big.
- Find others who are in a similar situation. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to speak to people who are going through the same things as you. No matter the country you’re moving to, you’ll be able to find a community of fellow American expats to connect with. Chances are your new job will have a few, but if you don’t have a mutual friend or jumping off point to find some fellow Americans, go on social media! I’ve met several fellow expats this way, just by using the hashtags #expat or #expatlife. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them! I’ve found the expat community to be incredibly helpful and welcoming.
- Network. One of the best ways to make new friends is to network! Go to the office happy hour, sign up for online dating apps if you’re single, volunteer for a cause you feel passionate about. Never pass up an opportunity to meet and connect with new people!
- Find time to speak with your friends and family. This is especially true if you’re moving to another country, as the time difference becomes incredibly apparent and at times difficult. Figure out what times work best for your friends and family to chat, so you always know when you can give them a call.
Have you ever made a big move before? What did you do to make it feel like home? I’d love to know!