Imagine, after months, maybe even years of planning, you have just arrived at your new home. When moving abroad, regardless of the experience you have, even for the most seasoned of expat veterans, there is always a period of adjustment when settling in a new place. For those of you who have followed my journey as an expat, I started my adventure in Medellin, Colombia, and after five wonderful expat years, I am making the move to France. Since arriving in this magnificent city, I have felt all the spectrums of emotion, but what ultimately helps me the most is following easy expat tip 1-5 tips for getting settled.
Easy Expat Tip #1: Buy a Local Sim Card
One of the easiest ways to get settled is to buy a local sim card. Depending on where you are in the world, phone plans may vary in price. Regardless, having data is essential to communicate with your loved ones back home, and find your way around GPS maps, translate essential phrases, and to connect with others. People in most countries use WhatsApp as their main messaging system, so make sure you have downloaded it to your phone!
Easy Expat Tip #2: Join Local Facebook and MeetUp Groups
Even before you arrive in your new home, join local Facebook groups to connect with people who are already living in your future host city or have the experience and knowledge to share about life there. When I arrived in Paris, I joined groups like Expat Women in Paris, and Women Who Cycle, and have already met up with people and started building friendships based on things I enjoy doing!
Easy Expat Tip #3: Identify Key Places in Your Neighborhood
Once you have moved into your new home (whether it be temporary or more long-term), it is time to get familiar with where you are going to be living. Do you know where the closest hospital or pharmacy is (or how to call the emergency line?). What about the local grocery store? I love discovering my new home and my favorite go-to places for shopping, eating out, and nightlife.
Easy Expat Tip #4: Brush Up on the Local Language
Regardless of where you settle abroad, getting acquainted with the language will help you make adjusting to a new country easier. No, you don’t have to become fluent, but learning key phrases for getting around the city, navigating a grocery store, or asking for directions will come in handy. If signing up for a language class is not possible for you, try connecting with a local language exchange group. It is a fantastic way to meet people and practice your language skills.
Easy Expat Tip #5: Connect With Loved Ones From Home
Moving abroad can be a big change, and staying in touch with loved ones from home can be key to cultivating a support system while you are away. Once you have settled in, connect with your friends and family, write an old-fashioned postcard, schedule a Skype date, and make sure that you continue to use your community as a support system should you encounter difficult times.
Are you about to make a move abroad? At TCI, we are here to answer any of the questions that you might have, and make your move just easier.
by: Erin Colton-Enberg