Settling in a new country

I’ve recently been having discussions with friends and new people I meet on which country was our favorite to live in and we compare our experiences. You might have loved living somewhere that someone else hated and vice versa. I believe the reason we would have contradictory feelings about the same place was due to our own experiences rather than the place itself.

For instance, I lived in Dubai for a couple of years and it definitely is ranked on the bottom of my list of places I’ve lived in.  It really isn’t because Dubai is a horrible place to live in but I didn’t make a real effort to settle and having a job I truly was miserable in didn’t help either.

Following the discussions I’ve had sharing experiences with others, I would say the below are the best tips I can give anyone moving to a new country:

1. Be prepared
Before you move try to learn as much as you can about the place you are moving to. Know what to expect… and expect less. The lower your expectations, the less chance of disappointment. 
2. Explore
Take a stroll in your city and get familiar with what’s in your area. This is one of the best ways to settle in and get acquainted with your city.  If you get lost, don’t worry. Just ask around for directions or hop into a cab to take you back home. Be friendly to the people in your neighborhood.  
3. Say yes
Say yes to going to the beach, say yes to a night out, say yes to meeting new people, say yes to camping, say yes to watching an independent movie, say yes to drinks after work. Even if you’re not into these things, simply getting out of your cocoon helps, plus you could meet some new friends in the process.  Know your boundaries though – for example if you really cannot stand electronic music and you know you will truly not enjoy a night in an underground club, don’t torture yourself.
4. Maintain relationships at home
Just because you moved doesn’t mean you have to forget about your friends back home. Exchanging news with your friends back home, especially during the first month or two of your move really helps.  
Remember, it’s OK to get homesick from time to time. It’s only natural to miss your home, family and friends. Don’t be to hard on yourself when you do. 
5. Activities & hobbies
Are there any activities & hobbies you enjoy or those you have always wanted to try? Find out if they are available in your city and sign up for it.  Not only would this be a time of relaxation or to de-stress, but it also provides you with a structured and possibly familiar routine, plus the opportunity to meet new friends who enjoy the same activities or hobbies as you do.
6. Love & Relationships
Although I’m all for love and relationships, I do not encourage anyone to get into a relationship during the first few months of a move. This is a period when you should be focused on yourself and building your own life. I’d encourage you to date and meet new people and if you do happen to find someone you like, make sure he/she does not consume most of your time and take away from the essential experiences of settling in and most importantly, don’t lose yourself in a relationship.
7. Be grateful
You are experiencing something most people do not have the chance to do so – you have the opportunity to see the world, experience a different culture, start a new life, etc. As stressful as the move may be, just remember to be grateful for the experience. 

Is there any thing you think I may have missed that has helped you settle somewhere new?



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