How to find your way in a new country
Rather than a clear straight-line story, our life is generally made up of a series of different phases. Relocating to a new country is always a major step, whether it is your first move or you are already a veteran expat or digital nomad.
Finding your way (again) and redefining balance in a new country and culture can be quite challenging. Still – maybe after dealing with the initial logistical and administrative issues which might absorb your attention during the first weeks – there are a few tips that can help you settle in your new life and enjoy the path ahead.
- Design your path intentionally
Things don’t generally happen by chance. ‘Chance’ gives you at best a 50-50 opportunity of ‘winning’ … or ‘loosing’. To turn the odds in your favour, you need to assume the responsibility of taking action towards achieving what matters most for you. Start by identifying what exactly this is (ex: who would you like to be and what would you like to achieve in your life and career, i.e. in the next 5 years). Then, create a plan, gather the necessary resources, and implement it.
Take purposeful action! Try this short Wheel of Life exercise (get it free with this voucher).
- Find your (new) tribe
A new country often means leaving your usual friends and support networks behind. Technology can help a lot in maintaining (a different type of) contact, but don’t shy away from looking for new friends and networks. Yes, if will likely take some time, so you better start earlier rather than later.
Look for groups with similar interests, chat to new colleagues at work, start a hobby, pay attention to local & expat events. Utrecht is full of options! Aim to connect especially with those that are already an example (or closer) to the lifestyle you would like to have; they can open other doors for you!
- Prepare to deal with the unexpected
You won’t be able to avoid unexpected circumstances. Language, weather, rituals, greetings and celebrations – so much can change when you move to a different country (more on Dutch culture here). At some point, you will be surprised: so be open to new experiences, to looking at things from a different perspective, to embracing new habits!
- Prioritize Self-care
This is probably the most important tip in this article. The pressure to prove that we can succeed in a new country is likely to keep us overworking, taking up more than we can sustain in the long-term, under pressure and stressed for extended periods.
Find a sustainable rhythm in your new context; this might require some adjustment to specific local elements (normal working hours, meal breaks, what to do in the weekend and off hours) and even how long/short a day (sunlight, etc) usually is.
Getting a good sleep routine and ensuring you have enough rest and relaxation time should not be an after-thought, something you focus on after you have dealt with all the rest. There should always be time for these!
Are you getting stuck somewhere? Wondering how to get started? Book a free call.
Natália Leal is a partner of the IWCUR. She is a Career & Life Coach who specialises in supporting expats & their partners find the clarity, motivation and strategy they need to successfully navigate their transition periods. She creates tailor-made individual and group coaching paths so you can find the confidence to move forward in your life and career abroad.