How to Adjust to Living In A New Country

Living in a new country

8 ways to Adapt to A New Country


Yesterday, my mentor asked me puzzling question that got me thinking – How do you cope with the feeling of loneliness when you’re in an entire new country? Her son who is currently abroad potentially experiencing this, was looking for advice she can share with her son. While I have never thought of or realized this as a possibility, I have found ways that over time have significantly helped.

Moving to a new country can be an exhilarating but a daunting experience. From adapting to new cultural norms to overcoming language barriers. It can go both ways while you have individuals that seamlessly make it work, there are those that struggle with it. But I believe that by sharing best practices and ways I do and continue to do it – might help one or two people with this.

1. Have an Open Mind


I believe that moving to a different country should be perceived as the beginning of a grand adventure – that was coming to Canada for me. With that mentality you allow yourself to approach this experience with an open mind and a spirit of curiosity.  Because through it, you will encounter different ways of living, thinking, and interacting with the people. Understanding these differences becomes an opportunity for learning rather than obstacles can transform your journey into an enriching voyage of discovery.

I accepted the fact that I did not know what I thought I did coming into the country, and allowed myself to learn from the people around me and resources that were made available to me. This made the process of adjusting easier.

2. Understand and Respect the Culture


Every culture is different – therefore understanding and respecting the local culture helps when you are integrating. Take time to learn about the country’s customs, traditions, and social norms. In Canada for example, the key thing was to understand the anglo-franco distinguishment and learn about the nations history as it dates back to indigenous people. The other one was the kindness of the people of the country and how that puzzled me in the beginning. For you depending on the country you are in, this can range from understanding dining etiquette to knowing the appropriate way to greet someone. Showing respect for the local culture opens doors to genuine connections with the people around you.

I explained this in my blog on 6 things I wish I knew before coming to Canada.

3. Build a Support Network


We are inherently social beings, and establishing a support network is essential for your emotional and mental wellbeing. Seek out fellow groups of people by joining clubs, making connections with genuine people who can relate to your experiences and offer valuable advice. At the same time, make an effort to forge friendships – it is through this that you really understand both the hidden and visible truths about the area you are living in. Remember, it’s the quality of connections, not the quantity, that counts.

If you are struggling to find ways to build these connections, I wrote a blog that explores how to build and maintain a network.

4. Establish a Routine


Establish a daily routine that incorporates work or study, hobbies, exercise, and social activities. This not only provides structure to your day but also helps in managing stress and combating feelings of loneliness or isolation. I found that creating a system of how my days operate and incorporating things that I can learn about the new country I am in usually helps. Stay busy and often times you find yourself not really thinking too deeply about the lonely aspect of being in a new country.

5. Be Patient with Yourself


Adapting to a new country is a process. You will experience a range of emotions, from excitement and wonder to frustration and homesickness. Be patient with yourself and recognize that these feelings are part of the journey. Give yourself time to adjust at your own pace. It will take time, I know that I am still adjusting and learning new things everyday.

6. Explore Your New Surroundings


Take the time to explore your new environment. Visit local landmarks, museums, parks, and markets. Do this with the new friends that you have ade, they make the experience enjoyable. Traveling within the country can also provide a deeper appreciation for its diversity and beauty. Engage with your surroundings will enrich your experience and also helps you feel more at home.

7. Keep the Connections with Home


When I first came to Canada I did not call home for a period of 3 weeks, I simply told them I had arrived. Later I realised that I need to have more of these calls. It is important to immerse yourself in your new country, but maintaining ties with home provides comfort and reaffirming that things are going to be okay regardless because they have your back.  Have regular video calls, share updates on social media, and travel back when you can.

8. Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health


The stress of adapting to a new environment can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Prioritize self-care by maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and seeking professional help if you’re struggling to cope. Remember, your health is foundational to your ability to enjoy and make the most of this incredible experience.

Moving abroad is a bold step that requires courage, adaptability, and perseverance. However, if you approach this journey with an open mind, respecting and engaging with the culture, and taking care of your wellbeing, you can turn the challenges of living in a new country into opportunities for personal and professional growth. Remember, it’s not just about surviving in a foreign land—it’s about thriving, exploring, and making unforgettable memories.

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