You’ll start a new job and set up a house. At the same time, get used to everything that’s new. And it’s bound to be a lot!
Fortunately, there are ways to make the settling-in period easier.
For starters, you’ll need to acknowledge that it’s going to be tough. After that it gets easier.
1. Accept that the first few months are going to test you
You’re living in New Zealand. You are thousands of miles away from what has been ‘home’ up to now.
It’s going to be tough. Perhaps tougher than you thought.
Get through the hardest patches by cutting yourself some slack. It’s okay to feel isolated, scared, homesick or even disappointed. Many expats, if not most, feel the same way in the first few months!
Sit down with the family for regular chats too. Talk to your partner about your feelings and invite them to do the same. Ask your children how they’re coping with the change. Kids might only speak up if you speak to them first.
2. Get connected as quickly as possible
We’re talking cell phones, Skype and emails here. The quicker you’re set up, the quicker you’ll be able to connect with friends and family back home again. Talking to the people you love most will get you through all the tougher moments.
3. Establish a routine
Routine makes most of us feel safe. You know what to expect and when to expect it. To expats it means a bit of calm in a stormy time.
Establish routine at home by drawing up a weekly schedule for the family. Add work, activities, even grocery store trips. Then put the schedule on the fridge where all the family members can see it.
You’ll feel much more in control of your situation in no time.
4. Explore your city
The sooner you get to know your city, the sooner it’ll start feeling like home.
Take a walk or do a sightseeing tour. Use the public transport system. Find out about festivals, sports days…anything that’ll introduce you to the local way of living and doing.
5. Make new friends with locals as well as other expats
Making friends is about much more than establishing a social circle. It’s about connecting with locals who can give you advice, information and support.
Here are a couple of ways to meet new people:
- Introduce yourself to neighbours, colleagues and other expats.
- Get back into a hobby or take up a new one and join a hobby group.
- Join a sports club if you’re sporty.
- Shop at your local grocer, go to the pub on the corner, have a breakfast at a local eatery and strike up conversations.
- Look for Meetup groups in your areas.
- Join an expat club or group.
6. Make time to relax
Scheduling regular downtime will refresh you to continue dealing with the stress of adapting to a new country. It doesn’t matter if it’s a massage, going for run, painting, a day out with the kids – do whatever relax you the most.
7. Deal with homesickness
You could do the best job possible at adjusting to your new life, but still get homesick. It usually happens to most expats at some stage, so don’t feel guilty.
Keep your heart and head happy by focusing on the positives of living in Australia. And believe that your homesickness will get better – because it will.
Don’t forget that you can always pick up the phone or switch on Skype for a chat when you’re missing home too much.
A final note on living in New Zealand
Remember why you made the move. You did it for a reason. Just focus on getting connected, exploring, setting up a routine and making new friends. You’ll be a fully-fledged, happy New Zealander in no time.