So you got the job, the plane tickets are booked and you’re all packed up and ready to begin your new life as an expat. Our lives can often become stale and stagnated; a change in scenery is often just the cure for a meandering mindset.
You may be hit by culture shock depending on where you travel and experience a completely different lifestyle to the one you are used to. Moving abroad and starting a new life can be challenging for even the most focused and driven career individual. Some expats will be away from friends and family, so after a long day working you may come home to find yourself a little homesick. In contrast, those travelling with family or a partner will have to support each other as they may also be experiencing the disorientating pace of change. If you are in a relationship, chances are that one of you will be working whilst the other looks after affairs at home. Adjusting to a new country most definitely takes time; with some expats saying it takes up to two years until fully settled.
There are always ways of combating homesickness, or, “expat flu” as sometimes called. Start by keeping in contact with your friends and family back home. Years ago you’d have had to rely on snail mail and expensive phone calls, but in the hyper communicative world we live in today a cheery hello and a mood-lifting chat is available at your fingertips. The internet can also be of help in ways you may not have considered, for example why not watch English speaking television channels through the web-based streaming options many broadcasters now offer.
More importantly you should be immersing yourself in your new home, making friends and finding the time to socialise. Perhaps try to take extra time out to learn the new language. Enjoying your work and social life in your new home is by far the best cure for expat flu. Take the time to walk around and get to know your new surroundings, browse through shops and try out some cafes. This will enable you to become familiar with your new home and the sooner you become comfortable with your area the smoother your expat transition will be.