Moving to a new country is a lot like the first week of college: in the midst of trying to organize your stuff, you want to meet new friends, you want to go out, and you want to sleep- all at once. It is overwhelming.
First of all, relax! You moved to another country and you should be proud of that. Now, get rid of any jet lag and get yourself on the local schedule.
Now it’s time to get out there. And just like those exciting, and awkward, first days of college, you’re going to have to put yourself out there and make friends.
And work is usually a good place to start.
During my first two weeks in Korea, I hardly left my coworkers’ sides. Whatever they were doing after work or on the weekend, I just went with it. This “just say yes” mentality took me to my first Korean mall/Walmart-type store, it got me acquainted with the village our apartments are in, and it took me on my very first trip to Seoul.
In short, it helped me explore this new place with people who have been in the exact same situation. I didn’t feel quite so lost anymore. And it kept me from sitting in my apartment on Skype, feeling homesick – this is key.
My coworkers also knew what they were doing, much to my benefit. They told me which restaurants to go to, which hairdressers spoke English, and which buses to take to Seoul. Far better than any guidebook, my coworkers got me through those first few weeks when I had literally no idea what I was doing, in a place where I couldn’t speak the language.
So what’s the single best piece of advice I can give you? Dive on in! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, even if you feel like an idiot.
Everyone has been in the same situation, and they are ready to help you, just like you will help the new arrivals a few months down the road.
Say yes to everything, be brave and start exploring.
There will be plenty of downtime to sleep and Skype with friends later, once you feel more at home in your new country.
What is some advice you can share for making the big move- cross country or jumping continents?