• published on 4/26/2023
  • 4min

How to Adjust to Expat Life

Change can be both exciting and scary. For many, moving abroad is the adventure of a lifetime, but cultural differences and traditions mean that there is usually an adjustment period in the initial months after relocating.

How to Adjust to Expat Life

To prevent homesickness and to help adapt to your new lifestyle, be open to making new friends and consider learning the local language. This can help you communicate with individuals easier, and make the transition overseas smoother.

Continue reading our blog for some useful tips on how to adjust to life abroad as an expat.

Build yourself a community

It can be difficult to settle into your new surroundings when you first move overseas, and it is also a potentially lonely experience.

To feel at home in the new country, try putting yourself out there to make friends. This could be with colleagues at work, your neighbours, or local expats. There are many resources online to help you find fellow expats, who can guide you with their own recollections of moving abroad.

Having insider knowledge of the cultures and norms of your destination will help you find your confidence quicker. You can receive recommendations for places to eat out and explore, allowing you to discover what the country has to offer.

Feeling comfortable in a new environment can be a gradual process, so give yourself time to build meaningful relationships and to organise your moving responsibilities. Be open-minded when meeting different individuals, and you could find yourself making lifelong friends.

Consider international health insurance

Whether you’re living, working, or studying abroad, you could consider purchasing international private medical insurance (IPMI). This can help protect your health and provide access to medical treatment such as maternity and cancer care, as well as GP access and specialist consultations.

You might not automatically have access to the medical system in the new country, which can be worrying if you fall ill. The costs of private medical bills can often be quite high, which an international health insurance policy may cover you for.

Safeguarding your health is an important factor when thinking of moving abroad, especially if you’re moving to a remote location that doesn’t have nearby medical facilities. When selecting an insurance plan, do thorough research to find the cover that is right for you and based on your individual needs.

The cost you pay for the insurance can vary based on a number of factors, from how long you are living abroad, to what level of cover you require. To find out more about the cost of IPMI, click here.

Bring something to remind you of home

Having some of your favourite belongings with you when relocating can make you feel more settled in your destination. This could involve bringing a treasured novel, photos of loved ones, or a musical instrument.

Whatever it is you decide to bring, it is sure to bring you comfort in your first few months living abroad. You could also decorate your accommodation similar to back home, with your favourite colour palette and similar furniture.

Or you could take this as an opportunity to create a new living environment, as the cost of shipping furniture and other goods abroad can be very expensive. If you adorn the room in a style you love, it could make a lot of difference.

Focusing on making your accommodation your happy place means you’ll look forward to going home in the evenings to relax.

Take time to learn the language

When you move overseas to a country with a different language, it is useful to know at least some basic phrases before you go. This will assist you in many situations, from checking out at the grocery store to ordering a drink at a local café.

Enrolling in a language class is one option, as this will help you become better versed in the native dialect. Also, make sure you speak in the local language wherever you can so you get used to it and eventually it will become easier.

Take this as an opportunity to grow your new friendships as well, asking a new friend to correct you on any phrases or pronunciation. This can help you learn quicker and rectify small mistakes that you didn’t realise you were making.

Additionally, there are an assortment of language learning apps available online too. These can be fun and interactive ways of learning, and you can often select what difficulty level is right for you before you begin.

Take your time

Moving your life to another country is not a process that is going to take place over night. You will face a lot of bureaucracy and important organisation tasks when you first arrive, so your initial focus might not be on making the place feel like home.

Periods of uncertainty and loneliness could occur, especially if you have made the move abroad solo. If you have relocated with family, spend some time doing regular everyday activities that give you a slice of normality.

Keep in touch with family back home to combat homesickness, filling them in on what you have been doing and maybe even planning for them to visit. Seeing your friends and family on video chat can leave you feeling lighter and happier.

Try and settle into a routine that includes things like going to the gym or reading your favourite book. This sense of familiarity can help with adjusting to life abroad, giving you something positive to focus on.

For some more tips on how to make friends in a new country, have a read of our blog.