Settling in Overseas
Moving internationally is one of those interesting things, because on one hand it carries with it enormous potential for growth, adventure, and a fresh start in a completely new environment – something which many of us wish for and dream about on an almost daily basis. On the other hand, though, it is also a deeply disorienting process can threaten to completely uproot us from our sense of perspective and context in the world – causing confusion, homesickness, and even depression.
There are various different tips and tricks which can help to make sure that your international move is much more pleasurable than painful, much more productive and optimistic than restrictive and frightening.
Here is a short list of some key techniques which will help you to feel rooted and centred once you land in your new country and settle yourself in your new house or flat:
(1) Recreate The Familiar: The simple fact is that your new home in your new country will probably look and feel absolutely nothing like the old one which you just left. This is part of the entire point of moving, after all.
It is important thought that you don’t end up feeling like a stranger in a stranger’s house. You want to make your home feel as welcoming and “familiar” as possible as soon as possible. You want it to be a home rather than just a nice house.
In order to achieve that feeling and atmosphere, there’s no beating the simple tip of re-creating some of the layout of your old home. Keep familiar memorabilia with you during the move, and put it in the same (or equivalent) place in the new as it was in the old. If you always had a photo of your childhood garden on the windowsill of your living room in the old home, then put the same photo over the windowsill of your new living room, too.
If your kitchen had a table in one corner, and a bowl of fruit on top of the microwave, then try and recreate that.
Of course you don’t want to completely recreate the place that you’ve just left, but never underestimate the power of the “familiar touch.”
(2) Establish Contact With Friends and Family Early On: One of the greatest hurdles to overcome when moving overseas from London is the separation from friends and family who you’ve had to end up leaving behind in order to move to your new location.
For the most fortunate among us, we’ll be accompanied by our loved ones, or will even be moving to the country where they live in order to reunite with them. For the rest of us though, it’s incredibly important to create a regular communication routine with those who we’ve left behind.
One of the great benefits of the modern age is that technology makes it possible to communicate almost instantly in a wide variety of ways. If you arrange to have a phone conversation or a Skype meeting with the people back home on a certain day (or two) of the week, then you’ll find that you feel a lot more “connected” than you would otherwise.
(3) Keep Busy: This is one of the most common-sense of all the moving tips which could be recommended, but it’s also one of the most essential and one of the easiest to overlook.
The simple truth is that once you’re settled in your new home, it can become very easy to get despondent and lazy and sit indoors like a hermit, becoming more and melancholy. In order to counteract this, you’ve got to stay as fiercely active as possible.
Take advantage of being in a new land. Go out as often as possible to explore the sights and landmarks. Get a feel for what the people are like. Go watch a performance or take a walk. Spend a lot of time outdoors, and — when you’re ready – join a club or group and try and make some new acquaintances and friends.