So you’re here – arrived. Months of planning, weeks of anticipation, and one rather tearful farewell party and you’re off the plane and embarked on your new expat life. Now what? Hopefully, you already have the basics – accommodation, some kind of employment – sorted. If not, get on it quickly. But if so, here’s a top five to do list upon arrival in a new city, to make sure you get things started on the right foot!
1. Emergency Plans: Here’s the sensible bit. Learn the emergency telephone number(s) in your new country. Know where to go in case of illness (and how you’re going to pay for healthcare). And keep some cash, or some way to access cash, separate from your main bag or purse in case of loss or theft. Make sure you have a spare key to your new house or apartment and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors primed. Now you’re ready to start living!
2. Have a walking day: I’m sure you’re super keen to become acquainted with the city’s underground train network and have already discovered the closest bus stop, but the best way to explore a new city is on foot. Set a day aside to have a wander – a day when it’s okay to get lost (temporarily) and have your own personal adventure.
3. Switch off: It’s important to stay in touch with loved ones back home but nothing kills the expat sense of adventure more than homesickness and overreliance on messaging those you’ve only just left behind. Don’t update your social media statuses every ten minutes from arrival but give yourself some time to settle in on the ground before going online. There’ll be plenty of time to take photographs, post bragging messages and coax over visitors – but for now concentrate on enjoying every second of being in your new surroundings.
4. Have some ‘me time’: Your whole life has changed overnight and you may well feel a little knocked off kilter. Take some time to enjoy something which you’ve always loved – whether that’s reading a book, having a run or even painting your toenails.
5. Do the tourist thing: Yes, your move is fully serious and you may already feel you’re far more of a citizen than the tourists flocking your new city but, on the other hand, you’re living somewhere new – somewhere lots of people would love to visit – and you should definitely make the most of it! Don’t play it cool – go up the Empire State Building, admire Sydney Opera House, ogle the Mona Lisa in the Louvre – and sample the local cuisine while you’re at it.