I’ve moved countries a few times in my life. First to Sweden, then South Africa, and now, just 6 months ago, to Jordan.
Change can be exhilarating, but it can also be a challenge, especially when the “honeymoon phase” begins wearing off.
Here are a few things that have helped me to embrace change…
Decide to ignore the less appealing aspects of your new culture
Anyone can find things they don’t like in an unfamiliar culture. But if you take a closer look and step outside of your comfort zones, you can find beautiful things anywhere in the world.
One of the things that has helped me to feel more settled is to set up home in a place. Ask yourself: “would someone visiting my home when I’m not there know that I live there?” and work at making the answer “yes.”
Hang pictures. Grow plants. Do whatever it takes to make your house feel like a home.
It’s easy to feel at sea when you first arrive. Everything is new and unfamiliar and everyone except you has things to do and places to be.
Get into a rhythm.
For us this has been easy, because we have language school every day. Outside of language classes, we visit people for about 2 hours a day and we study our books and memorise vocabulary for at least another 2 hours a day.
Usually when you first arrive in a new place, life isn’t so structured. Do your best to build a routine.
I’ve blogged about this before, but make sure you notice the beautiful things about your host culture on a regular basis.
When I start to feel homesick I like to take a walk and look around at all the things that I don’t get to enjoy back home: falafel stands, friendly faces spontaneously inviting you to drink coffee, the way the city comes alive at night.
Make local friends
When faced with a foreign land, many people gravitate to those who share the same cultural background. This is definitely the easiest thing to do, but it’s not necessarily the one that will make you feel most at home. It’s important to make friends with local people as soon as you can.
To begin with, this might mean showing up on your neighbour’s doorstep with a plate of cookies, or making a bit more small talk than you usually would with a local shop owner.
How about you? What tips do you have for a successful transition into a new place?
(Image credit: Emile Krijgsman)