COVID has limited how much people can travel and where they can travel, and no one feels the impact of COVID travel restrictions more than expats. Stuck overseas away from family, expats have been forced to adapt to their new country without the opportunity to visit family.
This can lead to feelings of alienation, and newer expats are sure to feel a cultural shock when moving to a new country. Whether you're a new expat or a seasoned expat, these tips are designed to help you during these trying times.
4 Ways to Feel at Home in a New Country
1. Carve Out Time for Friends and Family
If you're moving across the ocean, you may find it difficult to keep connected with family and friends. For one, time zones mean you may be asleep while they're awake. Also, new responsibilities and the process of moving takes time you could be spending connecting with family away.
However, it's important you maintain relationships with your friends and family back at home. Even if it means staying up late at night, schedule phone calls or Zoom/Skype calls with friends and family.
2. Make Your Home Feel Familiar
Just because you've moved to a new country doesn't mean you can't bring the comfort of your own home with you! It's important when moving that you have a space that feels like home. As you adapt to the country, it's ok to make your home feel like a piece of home.
Decorate your house to feel similar to your old house, plaster pictures of family and friends on the wall: there is no limit to how you can make your house feel like a home.
3. Watch Shows and Movies from Home
Nostalgia has the power to quell any feeling of homesickness or culture shock you may feel. Why? Because watching anything from home is the equivalent to wrapping a warm blanket around yourself during the winter: it feels comforting.
If you feel overwhelmed by your move, watch old shows from home. Watch sports games that may have taken place around your hometown. It may sound strange, but doing this is wildly comforting.
Unfortunately, not all shows and sports games are available to watch in every country. If it turns out that certain shows are blocked in your new country, you can download a VPN app to watch them.
4. Establish a New Routine
Moving to a new country means having to let go of your old routines. What does that mean? Well, when you move to a new country, you usually have to adapt to new traditions. For example, some countries may eat dinner much earlier than where you're from, or stores close earlier/later.
Sticking to your same routine-following the same time frames you did back home-will only make you feel more isolated from everyone else at your new home. As hard as it may be, one of the first things you should do is change to a more practical routine based on where you are currently living.
There's nothing quite like moving to a new country, both in the sheer excitement it brings and the pure shock you'll feel. With these tips, hopefully, you'll be able to adapt to your new living situation cleanly.