There are dozens of perks to being an expat and moving to a new country. Travelling is something everyone should do if they can afford it! But moving to a new country also comes its own set of challenges, from feelings of alienation to homesick feelings that make you miss your own home.
Today, let’s discuss just a few of the ways you and your family can adjust to a life as an expat.
This post is part of our expatriate life series
Feeling More at Home in a New Country
1. Find New Hobbies
There is no better way to alleviate a homesick feeling than by indulging in a new hobby. And being in a country means there are plenty of new opportunities available to you. Whether you want a hobby you can indulge in by yourself or one you can share with your entire family, starting a new hobby will help distract your mind from what’s causing you to feel homesick.
2. Learn the Language of Your New Home
After you’re settled into your new home, it’s imperative that you and your family begin exploring your new home. Maybe you want to find the perfect daycare for your children. You may also want to scout spots that would make for an ideal date spot for you and your partner.
Exploring your new home and finding places to eat, visit, drop the kids off, etc., can be difficult, however, if you don’t know how to speak the local language. And learning a new language is hard! However, it’s something you’ll want to invest some time into if you haven’t already.
Even basic concepts like greetings, goodbyes, formalities and vice versa go a long way and will make living in your new home much easier on you. Plus, many jobs like employees that can speak multiple languages.
Schooling in a foreign language? Most expats seek international schooling in English or their own language, here’s one family’s immersive language experience story
3. Talk to Friends and Family Back Home
Settling into your new home will take a while. Your search for new hobbies, new restaurants and delicacies to try, and ways to socialize will keep your schedule full for quite some time. But don’t forget that every now and then, you should call up your friends and family back home and talk to them for a while.
It’s easy to let these relationships slip, but doing so will not only hurt your relationship with some friends and family but will only worsen your homesick feelings.
Keeping in touch can be hard due to time zones, jobs, and other responsibilities. But it is 100% worth it to carve out some time every day/night to talk to people back home. Phone calls, Skype, Zoom, texts: there is no shortage of ways to keep in touch.
We talk more about helping your kids cope with separation from loved ones over here
4. Use a VPN to Watch TV from Home
No matter what you do, you and your family will feel homesick. The tips above will help lessen that feeling—get your mind off that feeling—but every now and then, it’s ok to involve yourself in something that reminds you of home. And there’s no better way to remind yourself of home than TV.
Do you watch sports? If you do and you feel homesick, watch games that you watched in your previous country. If your kids spend a lot of their free time watching television, then turning those channels on will help your kids feel more at home. TV may not solve everything, but it can be quite effective at keeping homesick feelings at bay.
That said, some shows may not be available in your new country due to geographical restrictions, licensing issues, etc. If you run into this problem, all you need to do is install a VPN to bypass said restrictions.
5. Begin Discussing Finances
Moving to a new country is expensive. Often, expats quit their jobs in order to move themselves and their family to a new country, with (hopefully) enough savings in the bank account to get them by for a few months. However, finances can often be a big source of stress and anxiety when moving to a new country.
Feel free to spend the first few days in your new home getting adjusted and helping your family adjust to the new location—unpack, unwind, and relax after the trip. Soon after settling in, however, it’s best to go ahead and begin discussing finances with your spouse.
Go over budgets, allowances when either one of you should get a job if neither of you has landed one already. Talking about finances isn’t fun, but it’s necessary for a smooth transition to a new country. Getting the finance discussion over with will also take a huge weight off both you and your partner’s chests.
We talk more about expat finances over here, including the balance between quality of life and cost of living, plus making sure your expat package covers unexpected expenses
Moving you and your family to a new country is stressful and difficult. But the end reward for doing so is the ability to explore a brand new country, a new culture, and new opportunities to bond with your family. If you ever begin feeling homesick, these tips will help you feel much better!
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