Settling into a New Country: How to Get to Know Your New Home

Contributed by Thomas Grundner, 11 September, 2018

When moving to a new country, many expats think that their hard work is over once they have unpacked their luggage, got all the preliminary cleaning done, and settled into their new home.

And although there is some truth to this, expats still need to spend some time working on another crucial element that can make or break their acclimatization in a different country: getting to know their new home country.

If you have recently moved overseas and would like to get to know your new place better, here are five helpful tips to consider:

  1. Read more about the local customs

    To overcome your fear of exploring a new city or neighborhood, and interacting with others, go online and research the local customs.

    Make sure you read up on important rules you have to follow as well as traditions and beliefs you have to observe even if you are a foreigner. Find out what the accepted social customs are in terms of greetings, eating, and gestures.

    Knowing the basics will enable you to socialize with both locals and expats more confidently. You will also avoid paying for what you consider to be absurd penalties, or even going to jail simply because you are not aware of the important local laws that everyone needs to follow.

  2. Act like a tourist

    During your first few days in a new country, relaxing and making your new home as homey as possible will definitely be on top of your to-do list. But if you want to start familiarizing yourself with the new terrain, go out and explore.

    Start by doing the usual things that tourists do in the city. If you're in Dubai, for instance, sign up for a desert safari or go on aDubai Creek cruise.

    Visit as many well-known tourist spots as possible so that you will have a better idea of what makes the city you moved to so popular and what it has to offer. 

    To know more about the local culture and history, visit museums and historical sites. If there are guided city or walking tours, join them as well. These activities will help you give an overview of the local customs and way of life.

    When the city doesn't seem too strange to you, you will find it easier to settle into your new home and life. Remember, too, that one you start your daily routine, you may not have time to explore all of these places.

  3. Get the lay of the land

    Aside from visiting local popular tourist spots, make sure you explore your immediate surroundings as well. Walk around the neighborhood and find out what amenities and other places of interest are nearby.

    If the area is safe, try different routes walking or driving to and from your home using a navigation app to understand the lay of the land better.

    In case you will be commuting to get around, make sure you figure out the local public transport system. Find out where the main bus and train terminals are, and the routes and stops near your home and workplace.

    Make sure you also have an idea of the fare rates especially for taxi cabs and ridesharing services.

  4. Be a regular customer or visitor

    Once you've discovered a restaurant, café, orhotel sports bar you like, hang out at these places frequently. If you like reading, find a library where you can spend your free time discovering different tomes. In case you're the outdoorsy type, look for parks and hiking trails which you can explore.  

    You will be more comfortable meeting new people while you are in a place you like and already at ease in. Once you've connected with some people, you can then ask them to share info and tips that new expats need to know and follow.

  5. Make new friends

    Lastly, the more people you know in the new country, the more knowledgeable and well-informed you will be. As such, take every opportunity you can to make new friends.

    Start by reaching out to other expats in the area or country. Join online groups or forums and ask questions, join in the discussion, and engage with members that you feel comfortable with.

    Don't be ashamed to ask even the most embarrassing questions. These expats have gone through the same thing as you are, and will be more than happy to give you advice or share an opinion.

    Locals, of course, already know the ins and outs of the culture, customs, and history of your chosen city and as such, can help you understand and remember essential details faster. Aside from striking up conversations with locals in your favorite haunts, you can also start connecting with them at work, at the gym, or even during a bus ride.

    Getting to know your new home and adapting to a new lifestyle won't happen overnight. However, you will get there and, in the future, you may even be considered an "expert," too, by new expats!


Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing forJA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of "Heartfelt Hospitality" and "Casual Luxury."

Tags: interest | Dubai | Egypt | Germany | Spain | penalties | law | services | tax |



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