Living abroad: 5 tips for newcomers

Not so long ago, I wrote here that life abroad is not always a cakewalk. In today’s post, you can read 5 tips that can help you in getting started in a new country.

1. Learn the language

Even if you know that in the area where you live you can find your compatriots, don´t socialize only with them (although it can be more comfortable for you in terms of communication). I´m not saying that you should avoid meeting people from your home country, but I definitely recommend to learn the local language if you don´t master it yet. It doesn´t matter that you speak three other languages, it never hurts to add another. Although if you don´t learn it properly, at least you will pick up a few words, which you can amaze your friends in the pub over a beer with (hey, do you know what a  “Chuchichäschtli” means?;)). Local “natives” will appreciate your efforts, even if you speak with mistakes.

2. Join their local festivals

If you really want to understand the culture of the country in which you have just started to live, celebrate their local festivals (harvest festivals, carnivals, shows, concerts, sporting events …). Maybe you will feel piercing of prying eyes, but take it that the other side might be interested in you as well.
At the very beginning of living in Switzerland, we signed up for Mothers-kids workouts, and that time we didn´t have the slightest idea that it was part of a local “sporting club”.

3. Become a fan

If you love sports, find a club which you will support. It can then be a good topic to talk with colleagues at work. If you have athletically talented children, sign them up for any sport. At the training sessions, you can meet other parents, with whom you can start to build new relationships and slowly integrate into the local community.

4. Join their local clubs

If you have hobbies and interests, why give them up just because you have moved to another country? Search the Internet and try to find a nearby group that you can join. Even if it’s “only” Zumba course, fitness, a running group. Again, here you can meet like-minded people and start networking.

5. Don´t compare prices

Switzerland is expensive. That’s just a fact. There isn´t any other choice than to accept it. Prices of meat, services or dentist are really high here. Just realize that you earn your salary in Swiss francs, respectively in the currency of the country in which you live. Something is expensive, something cheaper, but your salary is adapted to local prices of food and services.

And what about you? What are your experiences with the beginnings of living in a new place? What worked for you? Do you have any other tip that could help others? Tell me in the comments!

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Categories: Life, Switzerland
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Hana Hurábová

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