It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of moving abroad, and you definitely should! You’ve made the decision to move abroad, you’ve packed up your belongings, taken the leap and arrived at your new home away. You should be patting yourself on the back for taking a chance on one of the best things that you can do. Now you’re an expat!
If you’ve been an expat before though, or read anything about the things you might learn while living abroad, you know that this amazing adventure can play with your emotions too.
After moving abroad and finding somewhere to live, which can be both stressful and exciting, there’s a bit of a lull. What to do next? Some of that excitement can start to wear off when you realise you’re sitting in a bare room twiddling your thumbs. You might even feel like you made a mistake moving abroad. So what next?
These are the things that helped me make each new place I lived in feel more like a home.
Decorate your home
Don’t be afraid to splash out on some things to decorate your new house or room abroad. If you leave everything bare then it might never really feel like a home to you. The sooner you can feel comfortable in your new space the better. I always like to buy a new duvet set and something for my wall, and I always take pictures from home to string up.
Get a sim card
Some people get new sim cards even if they’re just travelling in a country for a few weeks, so you should definitely get on to it when you move abroad. Having a local number means when you start making those friends you can be contacted! Plus now with apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger you can still be in contact with friends from home.
Find a favourite cafe or bar
When you arrive in a new place and you have no clue where to go to get a coffee that you like or have a drink then it can make it that much more overwhelming. I love to find a cafe in my new home that can become my local, one where I’ll feel comfortable and at home. It’s also good to look out for bars you might like, although I find it much easier to go into a cafe for a coffee (or even a beer in Spain) than to go into a bar by myself.
When I first arrived in Spain I despaired that I would never find a cafe in the style that I love, until I stumbled across what is now one of my favourite places to eat in Almería, Cafe Cyrano. Being able to pop in there for a coffee or cake and have the staff recognise me made me feel more at home.
Sort the admin stuff
Moving to a different country for work means you’ll need to get a tax number and a bank account sorted. These should be on your to-do list straight away so that you can move on to more enjoyable things, like finding your favourite cafe and bar! Check into whether you might need to get a local driving licence or ID card as well. If you plan on buying a car abroad, you may find you need to have a local licence, or that it’ll help you to get a better deal on insurance as well.
It’s better to start all of those processes straight away, especially if the bureaucracy is anything like Spain and it might take awhile.
Start making some friends
Moving to a place where you know nobody is a freeing feeling, but it can also be a lonely one. Don’t waste your first few weeks sitting around waiting for people to come to you because chances are they won’t. Get out there and start networking for yourself.
If you have moved to a country that speaks another language then joining a language class is a great way to meet people, plus learning a language probably won’t just happen on its own!
Finding other expats can be a good place to start because it is usually easier to make friends with them, but really try and meet some locals and make friends that way too.
Need some more tips on making friends abroad? Try 5 ways to make friends when you move abroad.
The best thing you can do is put yourself in a situation to be able to deal with whatever comes your way once you’ve moved abroad, and hopefully these little tips will help!
Have you moved abroad? What do you do to make a new place feel like home? Let me know!
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