It may possibly happen that, sooner or later, you have to move into a new country. Maybe it is for studying, maybe for work or it could possibly be just because you wanted to. Leaving your country is not as easy as some people think – especially when you are heading to a different culture or a place where you know no one or have little idea about.
I was in that situation a few times and, after good and bad moments, I finally came up with a method of what to do to have success and integrate as fast as possible. I’ll share the main points here with you. If you got any other suggestion or some new insight, leave a comment below!
Moving into a new country requires preparation that goes beyond making the bags and some vague research about the country. I would suggest you to:
- If moving into a country with a different language, learn at least the basics. It’s not too hard and will make a good first impression that you at least try. Then, make sure to check out the history of the city you are going to, its culture, lifestyle and so on. That is, so as not to be surprised – You have to know the terrain. And, also, people will appreciate that you are trying to learn and integrate into their culture as fast as possible.
- Contact people beforehand. Try meeting locals through the Internet before you travel. Chat and exchange messages. There are a lot of social networks and hundreds of people who are willing to help and to get to know you. It is a great way to have friends to meet up with as soon as you get to the new city.
- If you are going to the new city alone, it would be great for you to find a house with nice and cool roommates. It will do you good to have nice and easy going people to speak with at home – It’s much better to be alone in a place you know few. These roommates will help you integrating!
- Once you move in, organize a few dinners and parties. Invite your new friends; make them all get to know each other. Cook something from your country and make sure everyone has a great time. Make it so good that they are anxious waiting for the next time you organize something.
- Go to social gatherings about something you feel identified with. I like to go to Church and messes as soon as I move in, for instance. But the possibilities are huge, especially if you move into a big city. Think about what you like to do at home and do it there!
- Fall in love with a bar or café. After checking out the town, choose one or two places and go to them frequently. Get to know the waiters, the regulars and make yourself feel like home in there. It is much better than being a ghost in many places!
- Join groups about things you love. And, if there are not, build them! If your idea is good and you are energetic and serious about it, people will help you. Build a group about anything – I’m going to organize the Spanish-Local Language meetings anywhere I go, the tango groups and so on. Do something yourself too!
- Get in contact with your embassy. It may possibly happen that they are nice people, helpful and that you could even befriend them. Many times embassies organize meetings, dinners and more, so make sure you are in the list for all these. And, even if they are not that nice, it’s always good they know you are there either way.
- Always be energetic and willing to have an excellent time. Never wait for the others to make a move, most of the times it’s you who will have to. It kind of sucks, but it does make sense that until you really befriend the new people, it is you who will have to call, organize meetings and push to go out all together.
- Unless you are a native speaker of the new country’s language, you have a perfect excuse to start dating girls/boys every day. Go out with three or four new people every week and organize lunch, a café or just a walk in the park to practice the new language. Tell them that you want to meet up so they can help you with it. In return you teach them your language or something else you do. It looks as something completely inoffensive but it has been the ultimate dating technique when abroad!
- Do group activities that highlight your value. If you are a good dancer, go to dancing classes or dancing meet ups. If you are a great guitar player, try checking out the underground groups and meet up people, join a band. If your thing is martial arts, join a training group. Same idea applies to almost everything!
- Ping! Call your new friends, don’t let the relationships fade away so fast. People, generally, have really boring lives. So make sure you brighten them up with some energy and new ideas.
- Stay outside from your house. Staying too much time home is a killer, it’s much better for you to be outside and feel and live the city. Unless it’s freezing or you are absolutely broke, write your emails from a café, go writing to the park or go for a run around the city.
Any tips you would like to share? Have your say in the comment box!