The idea of moving abroad and starting life in a new city might be daunting, but it’s also a super exciting opportunity to learn, explore, and arm yourself with a full quiver of useful life skills. Thousands of people do it every day, relocating for work, family, or education, and if they can manage it, you certainly can too! Especially with our top tips to move to a new city like a pro.
One of the fastest ways to settle into a new place is to—cliche alert—make some good friends.
Step 1: Chat with your new housemates and make an effort to talk to your course mates if you’re studying abroad. It’s important to feel comfortable with the people you’ll see on a daily basis. As you’re all in a similar situation, you’ve even got a few ready-made topics of conversation to kick-start the bonding process.
Step 2: Widen the net and join a club or a sports team to meet a new circle of people with whom you already have shared interests.
Step 3: Befriend some locals too: they’ll help you discover your new home better than any travel guide.
Make your new place feel like home
Before you depart, make sure you pack a few home comforts, not just the essentials. Unpacking your favorite bed covers or some precious photographs in a pretty frame are easy ways to make your new bedroom feel more comfortable. Bring a pack of biscuits or snacks from home too: these are great for when you’re feeling the homesick blues or sharing with your new housemates. Nothing like making a good first impression!
Make the most of the cultural exchange
This experience is a serious opportunity to learn all about another culture. Dive headfirst into the language by talking to everyone in their native tongue—this’ll keep your own language skills improving, and, before you know it, you’ll be using all the popular colloquialisms and local slang. But, of course, cultural experiences extend far further than just picking up the language: remember to also try all the new cuisine! Taste the local delicacies and choose your favorites to try cooking yourself.
Get your money right
If you’re moving for a long time and your new city uses a different currency, head to the bank to set up a local bank account in the new currency as soon as you arrive. Processes can be fiddly, so it’s best to get the ball rolling as early as possible. If your move is just for a few months, perhaps a prepaid travel card is the better option for you. Simply transfer cash into the new currency to your prepaid card online and use it as a debit card locally – this prevents you from paying ATM withdrawal fees, foreign currency fees and use abroad fees. So many fees. If you need advice, your new colleagues or school faculty members will be able to help you out with the specifics.
In your spare time, don’t just sit around in your new flat. Take the metro, board a bus, go for a walk… Just. Get. Out. There. Begin by exploring the tourist attractions. Once you get to know the city through the eyes of a visitor, you’ll have an idea which parts of town you’d like to get to know better. Then rustle up a group of your new friends and set your sights on discovering all the hidden side streets, low-key coffee shops, and independent restaurants. Once you have your favorite spots, go there often. They’ll feel like home in no time.