Daunting. Exciting. Intimidating. All terms one could use when describing the flurry of feelings and emotions that spin around our heads and hearts when moving abroad. Whether it was for love, work, education, or to cure an insatiable hunger for change, the realities of moving abroad are not as simple as they might appear on those perfectly filtered Instagram photos filling up your feed. Homesickness tends to creep in, and finding a way to call an unfamiliar place home can take some time, but there are definitely ways to make the transition easier and quicker!
People ask me all the time how I found it so easy to settle into my life in the U.K and why I never appear to be homesick, and I have to be honest with you – it was mostly just an instant thing. My soul just seemed to click here. Having said that, I did also take steps to help make it all easier on myself, so if you are making the move, have made the move, or are dreaming of making the move abroad, here are my tips and tricks to making your new country feel like home:
Schedule regular contact with loved ones back home.
Whether it’s a facetime call every Sunday, a whatsapp group chat, or good old fashioned ink on paper letters, make sure to put some time aside to continue the effort with your friends and loved ones back at home. Technology is a life-saver when it comes to being there without actually being there so take advantage of whatever technology you have, because it will truly make homesickness a little more bearable. For me, being able to spend Christmas morning with everyone in Australia and open our presents together was the moment that I really learned to appreciate this!
Bring something sentimental and meaningful with you as a constant reminder.
My jewellery were the little pieces of everyone that I brought with me: A little pin of a golden angel that my eldest sister, Katrina, had given me when I first moved to Darwin at age 6. A bracelet that my father got me for my 21st birthday, a pair of my grandmother’s earrings along with one of her rings, and finally a gold pendant necklace of Saint Christopher from my mother. Small things that don’t take up too much room in a suitcase but make me feel like they are with me whenever I have them on.
Throw yourself out there.
Hannah Montana has been telling us for years: Life’s what you make it. And out of the points listed here I would say that this by far the most important, and probably what made it feel like I fell on my feet when I moved to London. When I moved abroad I knew that if I didn’t give my absolute all to my new country there was a high chance that I would find life in London to be lonely and intimidating. So join a class, strike up a conversation with the barrister at your local cafe, organise after work drinks & find groups online for locals and like minded travellers (Facebook is a gem for this – my absolute best girlfriends have come from there).
Preparation is key.
I hate to sound like your least favourite teacher but do your homework. It might look easy to just pack your suitcase, purchase a one-way flight, and call the next place you land home, but to make it less stressful and much more of a smooth transition do some move prep before-hand. Speak to your accountant and find out what you will need to do to finalise your taxes in your home country. Google what the emergency services number is in your new country, look into the healthcare system and compile a folder of any important documents including a paper copy of your CV, written references, qualification certificates, and importantly, your birth certificate.
Decorate and make it yours!
Now that all of the boring (yet important) stuff has been mentioned, we leave the fun for last – decorating! You don’t have to spend a fortune, but make your house your home by adding a little bit of your personality into it. Hang some pictures of loved ones, or a throw in your favourite colour. Find some way to incorporate a little bit of you so that after a long day when you walk in you are comfortable in your own surroundings.
Image source: Bruno Martins, Unsplash