If you arrived in a new country and are struggling to get settled, here are three tips that I’ve found to make things a lot easier.
Hang Out with a New Crew
You most likely won’t meet the kinds of people you are used to associating with if you leave your home country. Unless of course, you seek them out. Sure, you can find a group of black women from your home country and hang out with them only…but what’s the point?! You left your home country to meet new people, learn new perspectives, and gain some insight as to what kind of person you are. So do that!
Making friends with local people will give you a whole new perspective on the country itself. Engage in talks about politics, food, language…did I mention food? Looking to pick up the local language, you won’t be able to do that by hanging out with people from your home country. You’ll need to find someone who is different (yet tolerable) who is willing to teach you some new words in exchange for a few English lessons. This will push you out of your comfort zone and be a bit uncomfortable, but have fun with it and over time it will pay off.
Just Eat It
If you are a picky eater, now is not the time to be picking the cilantro off of your salad. When you are abroad you have to be flexible when it comes to food. Either that or get ready to lose some serious weight. Finding foods that are familiar to you in a foreign country can be time consuming and expensive. Unless you are moving to a Western country that eats basically the same kinds of food that you eat back home, you will need to adjust and adapt to new kinds of food.
It’s not all bad! I’ve fallen in love with somanytypes of cuisine over the years. On the right day, I can even go for some durian. Point is, you won’t know if you like something until you try it. The whole point of being abroad is to explore and try new things. So pick up your chopsticks, or use your right hand only to dig in.
Walk it Out
When I arrive in a new city, I usually have a full itinerary full of activities planned in advance. I’ve also already mapped out how to get there and how long it will take. The upside to that strategy is that all of that planning gets you to see everything that you want. The downside to that is you don’t get to explore and find the hidden gems of the city. With all that planning it is almost impossible to walk around and get lost. Try to discover a coffee shop with a tiramisu espresso or seek out a cheap massage parlor.
Walking a city or new destination allows you to really take it all in. The smells, sounds, and closeness to the people. If you are really looking to integrate into a society and learn about it up close, make it a point to walk and avoid taxis when possible.
All in all, flexibility is key – as it relates to people, food, and how you experience a country. Keep an open mind and chances are you will find yourself moving to the beat of your new home.