WELCOME TO EXPAT LIFE! If you are reading this blog post it means you made the decision of moving abroad or at considering it.
CONGRATULATIONS on making one of the BEST DECISIONS in your LIFE! Living abroad will certainly change you in every kind of way. You will get to know yourself better, take risks, learn new skills, reach your limits, and will go through all kinds of emotions you didn’t even know exist.
After deciding to live abroad and finally getting to your new destination, it is time to find a place and make it feel like home. In order to do so I am giving you 5 tips on how to make living abroad feel like home.
Setting up all basics
Unfortunately, moving to a new country also comes with a lot of administrative tasks. Some of those include getting a tax number, opening a bank account, buying a SIM card, signing up for an insurance (if not covered by your employer) and finding accommodation.
Most of these things are easiest to set up on the spot since you have to visit public institutions or make appointments. All these tasks are the foundation of enjoying your long term stay.
Make sure to start early with those things in order to be ready. We all know that some of those processes can take a while. Once all of those basics things are set up, you can move on to the next tip on how to make living abroad feel like home.
Find a regular Cafe/Bar to hang out
The next step in how to make living abroad feel like home is to discover your new surroundings. Choose a day, go out and explore the new city you are going to live in. I, personally, always try out a new place for eating or drinking once a week and in the end decide on my favourite one.
Once you find a regular cafe/bar to hang out, make sure to show up frequently so that the staff will recognize you. You’ll see that this makes a difference immediately. You will feel more welcome than ever, self-confident and familiar with the city right away.
In my opinion, the number one and most important thing of all is decoration. Hang up some photos of family and friends from back home. They are lightweight and can be carried around everywhere.
Buy some new cozy duvets, make it smell nice and PIMP UP your room. You will notice quickly that this makes a difference and you no longer feel like a stranger.
Get to know locals & make long-term friends
After finding a regular cafe/bar the next step is to find locals to hang out with. Not only will that make your experience more real but you will also enlarge your international friends circle. Loneliness is never a good feeling.
A good place to start meeting locals will be in public places like a cafe you go to often. Why not get into a conversation with the waiter asking for tips about the city. Depending on where you are it might result in an invitation to join him/her for a night out with his/her friends. Voila!
Another way to make friends can be while working at co-working spaces. Most likely you will meet more expats rather than locals but there is nothing wrong with that.
It is often very useful getting to know expats who live there since a long time as they will have loads of advice, recommendations and tips for you.
Join local clubs
Finally, the last tip on how to make living abroad feel like home is to join local clubs. It can be a sport, drawing, dancing, book/reading, sewing, writing or any other creative club. Also a gym works.
You might even find some unique clubs you have never heard of before. In Ireland, for example, I joined an Irish Dancing club to try out my dancing skills for which I never had the opportunity before.
Joining a local club is probably the easiest way to make friends since you will see those people on a regular basis.
I hope these little tips will help you make living abroad feel like home. Now it is your turn. Have you ever lived abroad? If yes, what did you do to feel like home?