Integrating into a new culture can be quite a challenge. Experience and knowledge can help you move to an unfamiliar country but there are also more steps you can take. Perhaps nothing will fully prepare you for your unique move; but you can provide a solid foundation for a future as a successful expat. This is particularly important if you’re moving with a family. Here are some top tips to make your move smoother.
1. Acquire a valuable skill-set whilst re-discovering yourself. Learning a new skill that will be of use in your new home country can get you off to a healthy start. It could not only be useful in finding you a job, but it can prepare you mentally for your move.
2. Remain patient, very patient. Change isn’t always easy – particularly if you have young children. Settling in can take time so don’t rush or be too hard on yourself. Keep everyone’s spirits high and stay busy, enthused and positive.
3. Be open and flexible. At times, without realising it, we can appear set in our ways; but when in a new country it can be important to take a fresh approach to life. Consider your personal and family goals and ambitions, and be realistic with how you might go about achieving them.
4. Communicate openly with your children. At times, we may underestimate their emotional development, but even the smallest of toddlers often still sense when change occurs. Make sure you explain to your children what’s happening and let them know that their room will eventually contain their favourite teddy bear, toys and prized possessions again.
5. Don’t lose touch with friends and family. The fact that you’re now overseas doesn’t mean you’ve left planet earth. Ensure you keep all channels of communication open when you arrive at your new home. If your children miss their friends then arrange Skype chats for them on a regular basis. They’ll soon settle into the change.
6. Turn your house into a home. It will make your children feel safe, comfortable and loved. Maintain similar routines to those you had back home and ensure your children recognise their spaces as their own. Create a communal, inclusive living room and display some photos of everyone’s friends and family on the walls.
7. Become a social butterfly. As the new foreigners in town, it can be difficult to meet new people, but by getting involved in the various communities that interest you, such as sport, music, school or expat associations, you will very likely find other people with similar interests, who in turn will introduce you to their circle of friends.
8. Be open to offers of help. Sometimes we don’t like being fussed over, but when in a new and foreign land, it’s important to make the effort to ask people who’ve been there longer to offer a hand and inform you about your new surroundings.
9. Discover the familiar. Seek out places and things that remind you of home or seem familiar in some way. Involve your children in their favourite activities in the local area, or introduce them to new hobbies. You might be surprised to discover that your daughter actually loves ballet or has an eye for painting.
10. Learn from your new country’s culture. Learn a few basic phrases in your new country’s language (if it’s not English) and teach them to your children. Being polite, respectful and saying please and thank you opens many doors in any language.
These tips were provided by PSS International removals specialists in overseas household removals.