Tips for settling in after moving to a new country

There are many reasons to move to another country. Maybe you moved abroad for work, study or family, or you want to experience a different culture and way of life. Whatever your reason is, it is common that while moving to a new country can be exciting, you will also likely experience difficulties settling in. The key is to arrange your move well, be flexible and be proactive in setting up your new life. Here are some tips on how to do that.

First things first

  • Let your friends and family in your country of origin/former home country know that you arrived safely.
  • Check where you have to register and what documents are required (passport, employment contract and sale/lease contract).
  • Register yourself at the Embassy/Consulate in your new country of residence.
  • Get to know your new first points of contact, such as neighbours, school, childcare, employer and municipality.
  • Arrange utilities and telecom services (mobile contract, internet) for your residence.
  • Get to know your new neighbourhood, such as maps, supermarkets (opening hours), public transportation and prices.
  • Update your mobile phone with correct emergency numbers and most important contacts.
  • Open a local bank account and arrange a credit/debit card.
  • Register for medical facilities: general practitioner, dentist, pharmacy (check helpdesk of international health insurance or other expats).
  • Arrange new number plate, car insurance and pick up your foreign driving license if applicable.

How to settle in?

  • If you moved for study or you relocated for your job use the available relocation services or support for settlement.
  • If you have to find a new job, sign up at employment agencies and check local job resources.
  • If you don't find work immediately or you're looking for other activities, consider joining a volunteering organization. It is a great way to meet new people and to get the know the local culture.

Start up a new social network

  • A big part of feeling home in your new home country will depend on your new social network.
  • Put your energy into building new relationships with locals. Consider signing up to an international/expat association to meet new people and to share experiences.
  • You can also sign up for a sport or club in an activity that you're interested in. It is great way to meet like-minded people.
  • Find a local who offers language and cultural lessons to internationals; or could provide insight information in local habits and traditions, local perspective and nuance.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends in your country of origin and keep your messages positive/neutral.

Organize your expectations

  • Get to know the culture of your new home country more and more and keep your habits and beliefs of your country of origin (especially during the initial period) in the background.
  • Get informed by countrymen or other foreigners that emigrated already on how to behave and how to act: don't let them scare you but be aware.
  • Accept that moving, emigrating and adjusting to your new home country is stressful and that you can feel homesick.
  • Do a lot of fun activities and try to relax.
  • Keep an extra eye on your children; give them the right example, but also time to get used to their new home country.
  • Check often if your (non-working) partner has a program for the day, and if not, look together for solutions.
  • Consider using coaching bureaus if you need more time than expected to get used to your new home country.
  • Share expectations with each other; accept that settling in will be different for everyone and will take time.
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