So you’ve decided on relocating to be with your partner in a foreign country. So far so good! But what happens when you’re actually there? How do you adapt to an unfamiliar country and ensure you settle in well?
Well we’ve compiled a few useful tips on beating the post-emigration blues:
Get out and about
Nothing makes you feel like you don’t have a purpose faster than sitting at home all day, waiting for your partner to finish work. Actively seek out new friends and hobbies, or make a real effort to learn the local language.
Most cities have expat groups which can provide support and companionship, and sites such as Expat Arrivals have dedicated forums to answer any questions you may have.
It may also be worthwhile finding a job, even if you don’t need one financially, as this will force you into new situations and provide a sense of purpose. If you can’t work due to permit or visa restrictions, look at volunteering. Many organisations are happy to take on expat volunteers, and it gives you an opportunity to make a real difference whilst making friends and trying new things.
Consider the locale
Make sure you’re aware of local customs and taboos before you move. You can never be too prepared, and if nothing else doing some research before you emigrate will help put your mind at ease. For example, in Australia, a lot of the shops are closed early on Sundays and public holidays, including supermarkets. Small cultural differences such as this will catch you off guard if you aren’t properly prepared.
Many countries will also have different expectations of women and men. For example, in Saudia Arabia women must wear an abaya, a loose robe-like dress, when in public. This means it might not be sufficient to rely on your partner’s existing experience to guide you when you relocate.
Remember, moving was a joint decision
You may be relocating to be with your partner, but chances are both of you decided emigrating was the best option. Ignore the negative connotations of being a ‘trailing spouse’ and remember that even if you moved for your partner’s career, they probably wouldn’t have moved if you hadn’t agreed to as well.
Every person’s situation is different, and there are myriad factors that will affect how easy it is to settle into life in a new country. Successfully integrating always takes time, and whilst it can be daunting at first it won’t take long to find your feet. Always keep in mind why you made the decision to relocate, and enjoy your new life abroad.