Moving to a new country can be exciting and frightening all at once. You might have hopes, dreams, and expectations you wish to achieve, but on the other hand, you’re jumping into unfamiliar territory. We’ve collected some tips for some achievable ways you can fit in when you move to a new country without losing your own culture.
1. Learn the language
One of the most important things you can do to integrate into a new culture is to learn its language. Language and culture are intrinsically linked, so by learning at least the basics, you’ll have an easier time navigating any bureaucratic tasks you need to accomplish, interacting with locals, and building your community.
2. Explore Your Neighborhood
You don’t need to explore the whole country at once to become comfortable with your surroundings. Get to know your neighborhood by walking around, talking to people, or popping into local shops when you run errands. Once you feel more comfortable with your immediate surroundings, it will become easier to branch out.
3. Socialize, Socialize, Socialize!
With everything you have going on, socializing might be the last thing on your mind, but it happens to be one of the most important things to help you integrate abroad! Having a solid social circle around you will make your transition easier. Many migrants like socializing with other expats or people from their own country since they’re familiar. While this has its benefits, also try and socialize with locals. These connections can be really helpful if you need help understanding customs or laws, or if you simply need recommendations for things like banks and schools. Remember that you don’t need to give up your own customs. But, you’ll find it helpful to know when your neighbors are celebrating a holiday, watching the local sports team, or participating in a community event.
As important as it is to socialize with the locals, it’s equally important to get to know the other migrants from your community. Interacting with migrants from your home country can help you learn the ropes when you get somewhere new and will provide you with a support system of people who understand the challenges you’re facing. A good way to reach out to people from your native community is through Facebook groups. Here are a few you might want to check out:
- Filipinos Migrants in the EU
- Indians in Europe Discussing Money Matters
- Nigerians in Europe Talk About Finance & Life
- Thai in Europe Finance and Life
4. Keep Track of Local News
Often, new migrants don’t find the time to keep up with local news with all the other responsibilities they need to juggle, especially if the news from back home is very consuming. Set aside a few minutes each day or week to stay on top of local news. This will help you get a better grasp of what people are talking about in your community and allows you to be more present instead of focusing on what you left behind.
5. Get Your Admin Work Out of the Way
While easier said than done, getting all the bureaucracy out of the way early will be helpful in the long run. Go to a bank or create an online bank account first, since it will allow you to pay rent and earn a salary. You’ll also want to make sure you look for doctors nearby, a school if you moved with kids, and that you have the necessary documents like insurance or a valid work visa.
6. Keep in Touch With Family and Friends
Finally, be sure to keep in touch with family and friends back home with regular phone calls or video chats, and send them photos of your new life. If you need to, you can set up an overseas money transfer service so that when you need to send money home, whether it’s to help out or simply for your niece’s birthday, you can do it in just a few clicks.
To Wrap Up
Keep these actionable tips in mind when you arrive to a new country, and you’ll find the transition might be easier than you expected. Of course, trying to fit in takes a lot of patience and effort, but over time, you’ll find that you’ve come a long way from where you started and you might even feel like you belong in a new location where you’ve settled.