If you’re like me and you have ventured out to the great unknown or are planning to, here is a compilation of a few things - some practical and some more personal - I have learned about moving to another city/country/continent (Pick one that suits you best).
Leave your baggage behind. Your future self will thank you for it. When you forgo all the things that you only think you need and hold on to items of actual importance and quality your view of everything changes for the better. And I am not simply talking about physical items either, I mean things like moments and emotions too. Travel light and go further. Not to mention, it gives you a great excuse to fully immerse yourself in that new culture and get accustomed to something else.
"If you use the same bricks from your old house to build a new home, you’re gonna get the same results." While it’s cool to say that you were given a fresh start it’s not cool have spent all your time wasting it. Use this opportune time to exceed your past expectations. Put in more work. Change your style. Be adventurous. Be an introvert. Start going on daily walks. Go ahead and put your first dollar into that savings account you’ve been planning to create for the last 5 years. Read a book. Join a plant club. Now is the best time to do anything.
Take public transportation for the first 3 months. Your future self will also thank you for this because when you finally get that yellow Lambo you will have a better sense of your surroundings and actually know where you’re going.
Know that it is MORE than okay to not make friends within the first few months of your arrival. There are a lot of blogs out there that advise you to make all the besties you can but I want you to know, it’s okay if you don’t follow that path. I’m not saying you will go through the same thing, but because I expected to have great friends off the bat actually made it harder and a lot more disappointing when it didn’t happen. However, I used that time to connect with God and with myself (see 2 paragraphs below). Eventually, I did find (actually, more like they found me) a really solid group of people that I have come to call family.
Work. You may have come here to start anew, climb up the (add your preferred field of work here) ladder but things will take time. Be prepared to use your brain, hands and heart to (l)earn all that you can.
Hang out with yourself. And no I’m not just talking about spending alone time at home and watching T.V. I mean go out, have coffee, attend an exhibition at your local - or the next town over - museum. Be open to new. Get to know yourself again. Chances are, with a change in location, you also have a few changes in personality. Find out what you don’t like anymore, or get invested in something you have now come to love. Additionally, with that said, don’t forget old “habits”. These are the things that ground you. For me, it’s spending time with God by reading the Bible, praying, and listing to praise and worship music. It helps me to remember that although I took this trip by myself I am not alone. For you, it could be talking to your sister at least once a week, finding time to cook dinner during the weekend, running in the mornings, etc.
Start a savings account like ASAP. Don’t say that you just spent all your money on food, gas, rent, internet, etc. Blah, blah, blah. All that was heard was a long list of excuses. You can start with putting at least one dollar a day away and build on it from there.
Ask questions. Don’t be a nervous Nicholas and think asking will make you look dumb. You know what will, walking around the same intersection for more than 10 minutes because you thought you could figure it out yourself. Same goes with everything else, ask what’s in the food before you spend 20 dollars on the plate, raise your hand in class when the word “ute” gets brought up like 20 times and you have no clue what a ute is, stop someone so you can find out what time it is, etc. Just ask questions.
Call home at least once a week and keep in contact with your friends. I would say no explanation needed here but I really want to drive this point home. Don’t forget where you came from and the support system that helped you to get to where you are. It’s all too easy to go a while without reaching out but even if it’s just a little text or email to say “I miss you”. Also, never ever underestimate the power of leaving a message. Just because they didn’t pick up on the first try, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love to hear you when they get the chance to check their voice mail (Call me cray but I still have a few messages saved from my siblings and parents from over a year ago just because it warms my heart to hear them when I know they can’t talk).
I’ve said it before (#6) but I’ll repeat myself for good measure. Tread cautiously when it comes to social network pages. Don’t spend so much time on those sites and end up wishing you had a different life. Pictures and posts from other people only tell you 1/4 of the story and none of the true struggle. I can assure you that they are going through the same thing you are.
Oh yes, and lastly, stay thankful. There will be moments where you will question your reasoning and/or sanity for being here but remember how blessed you are to be in a position that thousands of others would fight tooth and nail for. You might think you have gotten nowhere but I bet if your 6-year-old self could, he or she would PROUDLY bring you in to show you off on career day.