Moving to a new country is very challenging. You went through the process of your visa application, then you waited, hoped, feared and dreamt of your new life in Australia. So when you finally arrive in Australia all you want to do is settle down quickly and start enjoying your new life. Here are a few tips to help you through the initial few months in a new country.
Network professionally and connect with locals. Make an effort to establish rapport with new co-workers, fellow parents or even join a local Meet Up group in order to meet people and make new friends. It takes effort, especially for shy or introverted people, however the initial effort will pay off in the long term.
Playing sports has proven to be very beneficial to integrating into a society. Organisations like Football United, a program created to integrate migrant and refugees into Australian society through soccer, is a great example. It allows both Australian and migrant children not only to play soccer for fun, but also strengthen bonds and become part of the community. Football United is based in Sydney, Canberra and South Australia. There are a number of other organisations throughout the country including Gaelic Football, the Hurling Association of Australia or you can simply play games with neighbours in the park or on the beach.
That unique home feeling
Create a home feeling in your living space as soon as possible. Ideally set up a new home within the first month, however even if you have to stay in temporary accommodation do some decorating and add some personal touches with pictures, candles etc. It’s the little things that make a big difference.
Make an effort to Skype and email friends and family regularly. It may be inconvenient to organise considering the time difference, however it is a strong de-stressing tool and it will make you feel connected and supported.
Keep a journal
Keeping a journal, be it a physical journal or a blog. It will become a creative outlet of frustration, hopes and dreams, as well as a great way to keep memories and to record first impressions.
Do not lock yourself within four comforting walls. Once you find a job and a school for your children, it is important to stay active. Make immediate plans to visit local attractions, theatres, concerts and sport games. You will be too busy to be homesick and will get to know and love your new home.
Immerse yourself in a local culture. Learn local slang, adapt to the local life style and pace of life. Don’t forget to try local dishes. Eating local food will make shopping easier and often cheaper. It will not magically change your habits and preferences but it will help you adapt quicker.
Develop a routine
Developing a routine from the first day is especially crucial to children, but will also be an enormous help to adults. A simple day-to-day routine will help you feel at home while you are adjusting.
Get to know the place
Familiarize yourself with your immediate area. Find the closest grocery store, restaurants, bars, post office, hospital, bank etc. In addition, watch films, videos, read articles, books and websites about the country and especially the area where you are going to be living. It will give you an idea of what to expect, useful titbits about the area and it will get all the family excited about the move, especially the children.
And finally – Discover a new favourite place
Even if it is temporary. After first getting familiar with a new town, choose one or two bars or cafes and go there regularly Find a place in which you are very comfortable, get to know the waiters and the regular customers. It will make you feel at home rather than feeling like a ghost in a new place.