Living abroad is an exciting, but difficult experience at first. Everyone who has lived abroad has faced the culture shock, the feeling of being disconnected to your loved ones, and wondering if you have made the right choice… We know it, but don’t worry, it won’t last forever! I have summed up some tools to begin feeling at home in your new country and city, so here are 5 tips about how to feel at home abroad!
1. Go out and explore
Get to know your neighbourhood. Walk around a lot, or drive, and take different routes. This trains your brain to recognise the area, and once your brain recognises it, you immediately start to feel at ease.
Also identify a place or establishment that you can frequent on a regular basis. This can be a gym, a library, a coffee shop, a bakery, or a bar. Alternatively, join an activity group or class. Here, the goal is to "fake it till you make it". In the beginning, you might not feel comfortable in these places. Especially if it’s a social gathering of people who already know each other; but keep showing up.
2. 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.
3. 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 always take pictures and paintings from my last home to make me feel at home at my new place.
4. Learn the culture or the history of a place
I always find it fascinating when I learn certain things about my new home. When you know a littlebit of the history and the culture of your new country, you will be able to understand the place a bit better.
5. Learn the local language
A bit of an open door this last tip, but i this list wouldn't be complete without mentioning it. Learning the local language makes your life a lot easier. Even if you speak a few words and the local community sees you're making an effort, they will really appreciate it.