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You have made the brave decision to move abroad – at least for a little while. While you were nothing but excited before you moved, now you are abroad you face the real challenge: settling in.

But how do you do this? We have some tips and tricks to settle in as quickly as possible.

Give yourself time to settle in

Settling in doesn’t happen overnight. It all depends on you and the kind of person you are. Are you well prepared? Who are you leaving behind? What are your expectations?

There are thousands of questions we could ask, but we just can’t predict the time it will take you to feel at home. It could be weeks, months, or it might even take years. And that’s okay. Don’t book a plane ticket home the moment things get rough! Be patient and give yourself the time you need to settle in.

Explore your new hometown

Moving abroad is an adventure, so take it head on. Visit the local bar, go to a park nearby, buy groceries in the supermarket and meet the locals.

Find out what happens on a daily basis in your new hometown!

tips on moving abroad

Explore your hometown.

Discover your new country

Your hometown is just the beginning. A whole new world has opened up for you when you decided to move abroad. Take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy your new country to the fullest.

You can visit the most beautiful places, discover the traditions and taste the local cuisine. Embrace this experience and enjoy your life abroad.

Learn the language

English is spoken all over the world, however the extent to which the language is spoken and understood varies tremendously. Not speaking the language of the country you have moved to, can be a big obstacle in your everyday life.

Learning the language will help you overcome cultural differences and you will get one step closer to really settling down. If you speak the language, it gives you the chance to chat with anybody and makes it a lot easier to get in contact with people.

Compile a list of words and phrases to learn in your new local language before you make the move.

Build a social network

It could be difficult to build up a new social network, however it will help you feel better and more at home.

You can share your experience and plan activities. You can socialise with colleagues, classmates or expats and when you are moving with your children, you can meet other parents at their school.

Build a social network.

Build a social network.

A different way to get in touch with new people and make friends is by participating in an organized sport or hobby.

Keep in touch

It is quite natural to miss your friends and family and you will even miss talking in your own language at a certain point. You can easily stay in contact with your loved ones by picking up the phone. This will also give you the chance to talk in your own language again.

On Recharge.com, you can top-up your prepaid phone credit so you can call or send messages to keep up to date about the most recent developments at home. It is even possible to top up the credit of friends and family abroad! Keeping in touch will help you to remember you are not alone.

Start a daily routine

Before you moved you might have tried things to break your routine in order to get inspired and try new things. However, the same thing that you tried to break back then, might help you adjust to your new life.

It’s nice to have some consistency, to exercise every morning at a certain time or take a walk in the evening. You could also plan on going out for diner every Friday night or watch a movie. Once you have settled in you can start breaking those routines again, but let them help you first.

Make your house your own

When moving abroad you need a place to stay and choices can be limited. Quite a lot of people choose to buy or rent a furnished house, it makes things easier. However, it could also mean the house doesn’t really feel like your own because you didn’t choose your own wallpaper, furniture, and floor.

The good news is that you can move stuff around. Rearrange the furniture! And don’t forget to buy accessories to add your personal touch.

Woman holds suitcase

Tips for settling in abroad.

Though these tips and trick might help you, we can’t tell you how long it will take to settle in. It all depends on you.

Remember it doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen!

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Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

    44 Comments

  1. I’ve just moved abroad and these tips are definitely useful! Getting in to a routine is the hardest but I’m getting there! :) Thanks for the inspiration!

    • So glad to hear Kate! Getting into a new routine is definitely the most challenging, but new can also be exciting. Best of luck abroad!

  2. Great tips here. I remember all that time ago when I moved to live in a totally different culture for a year and a half (Saudi Arabia!). Building up a social network of friends was vital to settling in. With this I was able to have an active social life there, discover the surroundings with new friends and always have a flexible routine. It certainly avoids the risk of becoming lonely.

    • Thanks! So glad you found them useful :) Settling in is absolutely easier when you have the support of friends around you – being as social as possible has gotten me through many a move overseas!

  3. I think building a social network is really important, we thankfully have made a good amount of friends here in Chiang Mai Thailand. Great article and points Meg!

    • Absolutely – it’s one of the most vital things I think, and probably the best cure for potential homesickness. So glad to hear you’ve formed a social group in Thailand – sounds like a great base for exploring Asia!

  4. Moving abroad can be tough but you really highlighted a bunch of key points that help make the move so much easier!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post – thanks Carrie!

  5. I wish I could learn the local language, I hope to master Spanish sometime in my lifetime. But if you decide to settle down in an Asian country…..good luck!

    • Lol that’s true – Asian languages are definitely a little more difficult for an English speaking native than those which are more closely based off our own. I’ve heard Spanish is a fairly straight forward language to learn – I did a few weeks of classes while volunteering in Costa Rica though sadly it’s all gone now.

      Bets of luck!

  6. I’ll be doing exactly this in a few months and I’m so excited. Some great tips here to remember when the time comes :)

    • So excited for you Anita, congrats! Feel free to reach out if you have any other Q’s about settling in – it can be daunting at first but you’ll absolutely love it :) Safe travels!

  7. Hey Meg,

    I think these tips are awesome and really important to remember when you are moving abroad AND in the same country!

    I few years ago I moved from Vermont to Colorado. I was fresh out of college and was leaving all of my friends back in Vermont. I didn’t follow any of these tips, and guess what happened? One month in I turned around and drove back home! I think if I let myself settle in, make a daily routine, and join some sort of organized activity it would have worked out differently!

    Moving to another country (Korea) I knew that I needed to do things like you said in order to make it work. Finding people to hang out with through social media and getting to know my new city and country has been a vital asset to making sure I am comfortable and happy in this new home!

    Great advice, thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,
    Katie

    • Hey Katie, thanks for sharing your experiences – so sorry to hear your Colorado move didn’t work out, though I’m so glad to hear your move to Korea did, and that your first experience didn’t deter you from making the international move.

      I think feeling like you’re supported is one of the biggest things to helping settle in – we shouldn’t underestimate the power of social support!

      Glad to hear you’re happy in your new home :) Happy travels!

  8. Helpful post! I settled in way faster than I expected to! And I think the most important thing is to make friends ASAP. That can really make-or-break your experience.

    I have native friends, other expat friends, and other Americans as friends which really helps when you want to be around people who just “get” you a little better. It was the Americans I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with. Not that they don’t celebrate Christmas in Amsterdam, but the traditions are just a little different. On the other side, having friends who are native to the country can help you understand the culture and language more quickly. I love them all :)

    • So glad to hear you settled in quickly Jess – having a really great network of friends for support really does go a long way to making your experience and transition a whole lot easier.

      I love that you make a point of the benefits of having all sorts of different friends – that’s such a great point. It really is great to have contacts from your own home country who do understand exactly what you’re going through, and who can share in the experience with you, though forming local relationships too is always a great way of immersing yourself into a new culture fully, and really becoming a local yourself.

      Thanks for sharing your experience & happy travels!

  9. Hello, Meg. I moved to Scotland a year ago and I had really hard time settling in and it was because I wasn’t prepared at all. I haven’t been thinking about that part because I was so stressed about accepting the idea of moving that it didn’t occur to me to ask myself ‘and then what?’. It took me some time to explore the place, to get use to the language, to make the new place feeling comfortable, to find friends, but with time things came to their places. My point is, it would’ve been easier if I’ve read your post before I moved. So, I advice everyone planning to move abroad to read your post before they do and consider the helping tips you give. Best regards.

    • Hi Anna – thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I’m sorry to hear you had a difficult time settling in, though I’m glad it ended up working out for you in the end. I think people absolutely forget to think through and plan for the “and then what” when really culture shock can be one of the hardest aspects of moving abroad.

      Glad to hear that you’re behind these tips – hopefully we can spread the word to make the transition easier for travelers in the future :)

      All the best – I hope you’re enjoying Scotland :)

  10. Hi Meg! Thanks you for the useful tips! Me and my husband have always had the dream to move to Spain and now we have the opportunity to do it. I know that moving to Spain and adjusting to the life there might not be a piece of cake but I am sure that we will be able to settle and make friends. I also know that there is a pretty big English community there so it wouldn’t be so difficult to make friends in the beginning! U find your tips really great! Thanks so much! :)

    • Congrats on deciding to make the move Lille! I’m sure you will have an absolutely amazing time, and the presence of a big English community will definitely help. Guarentee you’ll have a fabulous group of new friends in no time!

      Happy travels!

  11. Give yourself time to settle in and start a daily routine are the best tips. When I was new in my town I was sooo scared. First week I started to make my routines and it helped a lot. Best regards!

    • Glad you settled in & enjoyed your time in your new town! – routine really is one of the best ways to become more comfortable with your surroundings :)

      Happy travels & all the best!

  12. Great post Meg! Definitely one of the hardest things of moving abroad is acclimatizing yourself to your new life. Thanks, will share! :)

    • Thanks Alex – glad you found it useful! Hopefully if people start putting these things into action we can bridge the gap of culture shock and encourage more people to travel and consider moving abroad :)

  13. Great tips listed here. I love moving somewhere new and not knowing anybody. It is exciting looking around, exploring the new location. That is my favorite part. Thanks for sharing this resource with us!

    • Thanks Dean!! we love new experiences too, and the most exciting part for me is the fresh start. I get antsy if I’m in the one place for too long – it’s adventurous to land somewhere new every once in a while :)

  14. Really useful tips! I am very excited that I am finally going to move to Thailand and I can’t wait to go in January. I have never lived abroad before and I don’t know how I will feel once I move there…but I guess is not a bad idea to keep contact with friends and family at home and to try to make friends at the new place! :) Thanks for the post! Greets!

    • Thanks Deborah :)

      Wishing you all the best in your upcoming move – I’m sure you’ll have an absolutely fabulous trip! Thailand is a huge expat hub so there are plenty of foreigners around – it won’t take any time at all to make new friends :)

  15. Thanks to Facebook building a social network made it easy but its important to have a real social life too. I think these tips are great. Thanks

    • Social networking has definitely made it a lot easier than it would have been in the past, and I have found that the ease of things like video chat have really made a difference in combating home sickness where they weren’t available before.

      Absolutely agree however that an actual social life in the destination you are physically in is equally as important. Nothing beats that face to face :)

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks Sheldon :)

  16. Thanks for the helpful tips! It is not easy to settle in a foreign country as many people think it is. It takes time to learn the language and to make friends. I am about to move to Indonesia for three years. I am really excited and scared. Greets!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Juana – and absolutely, I think the biggest key to success in moving abroad is accepting the reality that settling in just takes a little bit of time.

      Congrats on the upcoming move to Indonesia! I haven’t yet made it there myself but I’ve heard it’s a beautiful country! I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time.

      Wishing you a smooth transition with the move :)

  17. Hello Juana, Planning to move abroad is an enormous step, but moving to abroad sometimes is the perfect opportunity to explore the world, get along with new people and much more to do in the new country. It is definitely going to be a challenge, but with the right tips and preparation it’s completely possible and totally worth it, these tips are definitely going to help you out through your journey.

    • Totally agree with you Sean … Glad you relate with the tips :)

  18. Every settling is difficult, especially long distance moving. But with time, everything is going to be fine.

    • Absolutely Rita :) Adjusting to a new environment never happens full over night, so allowing time to settle in is one of the best things we can do :)

  19. Moving abroad can be hard and a challenging time at first – settling in is important. Some of these are definitely things I struggled with too upon making my move from the UK to Australia – it doesn’t all go smoothly and you have to ensure you make time allowances for things to change/go the opposite way you thought! As you said living there, is very different than going on holiday for a few weeks. Perhaps a good idea is to visit the place in different seasons before moving there – you will get a real feel for the place and begin to see what it’s like at different times of the year in terms of weather and what goes on. Healthcare and finances are also really important, research as much as you can, the internet has made it so easy to do this now.

    • Fantastic advice Kathy, especially planning a couple of different visits at different points throughout the year to get a real feel of what it might be like living there.

      I think the biggest thing is (a) research so that you have realistic expectations and can head into the move as prepared as possible. As you said the internet has made it so easy to access information these days. And (b) allowing yourself time to find your feet. Settling in is never something which happens overnight :)

      Thanks for the great advice – hope you’re enjoying your time in Australia!

  20. The most thoughtful and helpful tips I’ve found so far. This post is golden and by sharing it you help a lot of people. When I moved the first time I wish I had this article as my guide. This is why I’m bookmarking it now and sharing it on my fb wall. Thanks for existing and being awesome!

    • Appreciate the share Nivas, so glad you enjoyed the post! Hope your experience living abroad was an incredible one :)

  21. Thank you. Very nice job. Keeping in touch with your friends and family is especially important if you are moving alone.

    • Absolutely Sarah, and the nice thing is that so much technology exists these days to make that easy.

      Glad you enjoyed the post :)

  22. I really enjoyed from reading the article above, You have explained everything in detail about moving. Surely I will use this tips to moving time. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

    • So glad the post was helpful for you Deven. Wishing you a safe and successful move! :)

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