I love writing, recently this is what keeps me going. Even though I don’t have many followers, I’m not sharing breakthrough posts, or writing about any outstanding things, still I like this kind of feeling of writing things out from myself. It’s not like that I don’t have enough friends to talk to what is in my mind… but due to the recent happenings and decisions in my life, currently there are very very few people among my friends as well who know all the things about my life. And somehow here, this space, where I can actually be myself, I’m able to write out my current feelings.
So even if I want to admit or not, I need a change in my life. Things are all happening in a way that I have this feeling that life is really supporting my ideas and pushing me gently day by day to fulfil my dreams, even if it’s sometimes not gently at all, rather super radical, but keeps me going. And since I have decided, day by day it’s getting clearer why I even arrived to this point in my life, and why this change is necessary now.
I’m spending many times with this blog and looking for topics which might be interesting besides the everyday struggle of moving and leaving behind things. I’m trying to put the focus really on the positive aspect, as there are many advantages of a relocation besides the early difficulties.
So when 5,5 years ago I left my home-country, my plan was to stay here only for 6 months, so in the beginning I really didn’t take it seriously. I was in this mood that I can do it, how cool is that actually that I was offered with this job, and I’m here to share all my experiences. OK I had a job since the first day I moved, as I moved here because of a job opportunity and they organised a temporary place for me to stay, but nothing else. So very sudden I realized how many things I need to organize in my new country, without speaking a word in their language. And of course not everyone could speak English.
When I moved here in January 2012 – I started to write a blog, and I was writing that in my mother tongue, so no point to link it here, but I have just checked it, I wrote 113 posts during one year. And after 1 year I just stopped, I think my life became that busy by that time and with the time there were much less culturally shocking differences so I was out of topics and interest to continue writing that blog.
But as said before, during the past years here, being away from my home country, and needed to manage my life fully alone without any real support by anyone else transformed me into a real surviver. And I learned a lot what I would do completely differently in my future. I’m not really good yet organizing my thoughts properly, so it might be a random list again, but these are my tips for myself and of course for anyone else who is reading this post, how to do it now:
- Find a job, any kind of job, temporary, or long term, your dream job or whatever job, where the workplace helps you to organize all your necessary papers. Later on you can change anytime for a better one if you feel like. The most important things are the papers, work permit, especially if you are out of EU.
- Find a home, the best would be to stay with a roommate in the beginning, who can help with things till you get familiar with everything – ideally close to your workplace to avoid everyday public transport craziness in the beginning. To find housing on your own, you could find a real estate agent (which is, admittedly, a bit of an old school tactic), talk to other expats (nothing like a personal recommendation!), or use one of the many online housing providers out there. Yes, the big name in the industry, AirBnb, will let you rent places by the month — but is not the most economical. Your first (and sometimes second) month of rent as well as a security deposit will be required when you sign your lease. Be sure to have enough savings to cover these upfront costs. Don’t forget about the mundane, yet essential, tasks of figuring out your water, electricity, trash, and internet. Try to have a local help you organize your housing, especially if there’s a language barrier. Their insider’s perspective will prove invaluable, and help you avoid potential scams for extra fees (“Foreigner’s tax,” if you will), that you’re in a good neighborhood, and ensure there’s no funny business in your contract. If this local is a personal friend who genuinely cares about you, even better!
- Plus side-note, yes organize the public transport season ticket for yourself, to be able to travel around the city, but even more important is to: get a bike!! You know I love biking, right? 🙂 Actually after finishing this article I’m going for a bike ride with a friend again. This friend doesn’t know yet that I’m leaving… Hm.
- Join all expat communities!! You need buddies, you need people around you, who are similar to you. Even if you are anti-social, introvert, it’s better to have connections from the beginning. Later on you can still select which relation is worth to keep or let go. Bloggers are great people to know and tend to be in touch with their community. Do a quick search for people writing about your area and see if you can arrange to meet for coffee. Check for local meetups, expat get-togethers. Of course, make sure to meet up in public areas the first couple or times. Do you like to cook? Ride bikes in crazy hot weather? Climb ridiculously early in order to capture that perfect sunrise? There will be communities of expats and locals who feel the same way. Find a group online with similar interests. There is comfort in familiarity and while you’re on a grand overseas adventure, it can be wonderful to talk with a group of people from your home country. There are a ton of expat groups online and they tend to organize gatherings and get-togethers. Take a class in something you’re passionate about. Whether it’s cooking, language, or dance, you’re sure to meet people who have similar interests as you.
- Start a language school as of the 1st week, don’t wait longer, you can meet new people, and really start to learn the language properly without waiting “that it will come with time” and other bullshit (and I’m so lucky that I speak some Italian already:)) Learn the local language with a language partner. See if there are local schools that host a language exchange, or search for established ones online.
Awww, I just cannot wait to be there… 🙂