Most people dream of starting life in a foreign land. To some, working or living abroad is assured happiness because the opportunity provides them with every sensibility they have been seeking. In other words, relocating to a new country is their ultimate goal in life.
Sadly people narrowly focus on the fantasy of what they want to accomplish and ignore obvious realities linked to this venture. As a result, they end up experiencing an ongoing struggle to maintain life abroad, diminished confidence, damaged romantic relationships, and eventually accepting anything that can take them elsewhere.
You can avoid the embarrassment of the failure to execute what you were excited about through preparation. Venturing abroad alone can be tricky. Because of that, this article will you the reality which might wash away your bright-eyed optimism. However, it will provide you with a realistic blueprint of how you can survive the first few months in a foreign land and how to navigate inevitable roadblocks. The aim is to strengthen your dream of relocating to a new country.
So let’s dive in.
1. Obtaining a Safe Housing
You need a more permanent abode when living in a new country. Living entirely in a local hostel or hotel is not sustainable in the long run. Some people dream of living in a fantastic apartment in a big city surrounded by major sights. While these places exist, they are extremely expensive and unaffordable. You need to be flexible and find a place within your budget before you’re thrown on the street in a foreign land.
Real estate agents, classifieds, or other ex-pats can help you find your own housing. There are some provisions for people who want to stay, let’s say 6 – 9 months, such as those on shorter contracts, teachers, or students.
You should save before moving so that you can cover upfront costs before your first paycheck arrives. Other than the rent, which comprises the first and, in some instances, second-month rent and security deposit, you must consider essentials like water, electricity, internet, trash, food, and much more.
The house should be in a good neighborhood; thus, the need to get a personal recommendation from a personal friend or an ex-pat forum instead of online housing providers. This is important, especially when there is a language barrier.
2. Making New Friends
You now have a lovely, cozy apartment, but you don’t have friends to visit you or that you can visit or share in some adventures. Worse still, you don’t have the slightest idea where to find them.
Finding friends in high school or college is relatively easy because you’re of the same age, come from the same, or participate in similar activities. Further, you’re put together in classrooms and have daily interactions with strangers who end up being your friends.
On the other hand, making friends abroad is different. It needs an entirely new approach to finding friends in a new city. The following tips will help you make friends abroad.
Make Friends Online: Bloggers tend to build a community of readers who visit their websites or social media profiles to read new content. You can find friends by searching and following writers in your area and arranging to meet for coffee. Further, search for ex-pat get-togethers or local travel group meetups and attend this event. However, you should only attend if they meet in public areas for safety reasons.
Use a Language Partner to Learn Local language: Check for a local language school that teaches foreigners the local language, and if there isn’t any nearby, you can search for one online.
Join a Local Organization: Find a group of ex-pats or locals with similar interests.
Engage in a Hobby: It can be cooking, dancing, riding bikes, learning a new language, etc. Such activities will help you meet people with similar interests as you.
3. Navigating Foreign Bureaucracy and Transportation
Life gets easier when you have the basics in a foreign land. However, it can get really tough and frustrating when dealing with government officials. Some government offices, especially in developing countries, are extremely slow. It can take ages before your request is attended to.
Further, transportation can be a challenge in the first few days. Navigating public transit independently might be a huge task. Remember, you must master hundreds of bus routes, know how to buy a ticket, particularly from an automatic dispenser, carry the right amount of foreign currency, etc.
Here are tips to here you survive in your new home.
Always have Your Visa in Order: One of the first places you should know when relocating to a new country is government offices. You should also know the duration you must wait for each appointment. This will help you avoid getting frustrated or seeking appointments at the last minute, yet you have to wait for a specific period.
Familiarize Yourself With Local Transportation: It’s important to learn ahead of time about popular modes of transport in your area. These may include train, bus, biking, taxi, and so on. It’s important to know whether you must have a new ticket for every trip or just a monthly pass.
Learn the Flow of Traffic: Each state or country has its own traffic rules. It’s vital to learn traffic rules in your new home, such as how motorists drive, whether they stop for pedestrians, etc. This will help you to do as they do.
4. Maintaining Relationships Back Home
People get excited when they relocate to a new country, get a nice place to stay, and make new friends. They’re happy to share this news with their loved ones back home. The good news is that there are several platforms that you can use to stay connected with your friends and family back home. These are Skype, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google Meet, Zoom, etc. In other words, you shouldn’t drift apart from your loved ones back home.
The following tips will help you to keep in touch:
Be Understanding and Patient: Communication is two-way traffic, and therefore everyone should demonstrate some understanding and patience. While you’re excited about achieving your goals and want to share everything about it, you shouldn’t dominate the conversation when you get a chance to speak to them. Remember, they’re also in a different phase in life, and a lot is also happening in their lives, and there are daily doings that matter a lot to them.
Set Time Aside to Chat with Friends and Family: Consider the time difference when scheduling a specific time to engage with your loved ones. This will help you avoid calling people at ridiculous hours.
Share Your Adventures Online: Keeping your friends and family updated reduces anxiety because they can follow you and see what you’re doing. You can share your photos on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp status, and much more. However, it would be prudent not to share your personal life.
5. Getting Accustomed with the New Culture
Each country has its own unique culture and understanding that can help you settle comfortably in your new home. It is important to realize that you will make mistakes at first, but as long as you are eager to learn and practice common courtesy, you will be fine.
The following tips can help you survive abroad:
Learn and Avoid Actions That are Offensive: You should learn offensive things and avoid them. These touch on greeting, conversation, eating, cooking, dressing, etc.
Observe local Holidays: You should pay attention to local holidays and observe them accordingly to avoid looking weird. It’s important to mark on your calendar all upcoming national and religious holidays as well as learn how they celebrate them. You might discover some are marked with colored powders, certain clothes, or delicious recipes. Learning about them can help you navigate the cultural landscape in your new country.
Show Gratitude: It’s important to travel abroad with an open mind because of cultural differences. For instance, you should accept a gift of food and drinks even if it may be disgusting. Actively refusing it or making a face may hurt the host.
The decision to relocate to a new country can be intimidating at first. However, it’s a good idea to explore the world, get to know new places and work in a foreign country.
While relocating to a new country can be a huge challenge, proper planning can ease it. The five tips mentioned above can help you get started with a totally new life.
You can share the challenges you faced when you relocated to your new home and how you handled them.