Moving to another country takes a lot more effort than you’d think! Between actually physically getting all of your things to your new country and finding the proper visa documents – sometimes we forget to actually build our lives!
MAKE FRIENDS (AND ACTUALLY SEE THEM!)
Making friends is really hard, guys. It’s so funny how when we are children, making friends is so easy – and then as we get older, we tend to get more closed off and it just doesn’t happen as easily as it used to. But there are tons of ways to meet friends while abroad, and meeting other expats especially is a must! Join some social media expat groups, go out for dinners, take some classes at your local language center – get out there!
MOVE ALL OF YOUR SH*T WITH YOU (AND GET RID OF THE REST)
It’s really hard to feel like you’re at home when you’ve got a storage locker full of stuff in another country just waiting for you. When you know your stay in this new place is happening, I would suggest some serious de-cluttering! Donate, throw out things you don’t need or won’t be shipping to your new address!
DON’T FORGET YOUR FURRY FRIEND(S)
Moving your pet with you to another country is definitely one of the easiest ways to make your new home feel like it’s actually your home. When I moved to Belgium for the first time in 2013, my cat couldn’t come with me because the apartment we were renting didn’t allow pets. Then, in 2014, when I moved to Belgium the second time, she moved with me. The difference in these two moves is crazy! The second move, once my cat set foot in our new house, I immediately felt like this was my home.
KNOW YOUR VISA SITUATION (AND YOUR FUTURE VISA SITUATION)
Understanding your visa situation (and anything you might need to do in the future to keep it), is an absolute must, because then you’ll feel comfortable to settle in and make a life for yourself. If you’re constantly worried or not knowing when you may have to pick up and leave, you’ll be far less likely to make roots for yourself.
There is seriously no better way to fall head-over-heels with your new country than to wander around and explore it! Take city trips, go to special events, and take advantage of the place you are!
MAKE IT “FACEBOOK OFFICIAL” (OR WHATEVER)
Okay, so this one might seem a little strange, and it’s definitely not necessary – but hear me out; if you have a bunch of “friends” on Facebook (you know, those ones you hardly ever talk to but can’t bring yourself to unfriend?), what better way to spread the news of your move than with a big ol’ cliche’d Facebook update? This will let people know you’re no longer in the area, and will give people a reason to reach out to you and ask how it’s going. Which, in turn, will give you a reason to brag about how awesome your new place is!
DECORATE YOUR NEW DIGS
Decorating your place might be the last thing on your mind when you’ve just spend a bunch of money on visas, flights and shipping all your things – but it’s a serious mood-booster to come home to a place that reflects who you are. Decorate your new place the way you want, and every time you walk through the door you’ll be welcomed home.
INVITE PEOPLE OVER
Inviting friends and family to take a trip to visit your new country is definitely a whole new level of feeling at home. Having two parts of yourself (your old home and your new home) come together is incredible and kind of strange, but in an awesome way. Recently, both my sister and mother stayed in Belgium for a longer period of time and having two people who mean so much to me see where I lived and how I lived in this new country made living here feel that much more authentic.