How to Thrive as an Expat or in a New City
“Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time.” – Hannah Arendt
Everyday I’m inspired by my clients and students who themselves are expats seeking to connect and learn how to thrive in a different, sometimes challenging, environment. So what does it mean exactly to be an expat? you may ask. Well, according to Wikipedia “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing, as an immigrant, in a country other than that of their citizenship. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”)”.
I love how that puts things into perspective. I’m an immigrant! I never would have looked at it that way, but it’s true.
After over a decade living abroad in Europe across two very different countries, I understand what it takes to master transitions and overcome the challenges to create a new and happy life.
Nearly 6,000 miles away from everything I ever knew, from becoming a mother overseas, juggling the demands of travelling, working again as an entrepreneur after being a stay-at-home-mom, learning a new language to grieving the death of my father and best friend – it’s hasn’t been easy. There have been tears and there have been fears.
But from my own search for balance, purpose and a commitment to my personal growth I’m here to tell you it is possible to thrive as an expat or in a new city. Which is why I’m dedicated more than ever to helping others also gain space, find peace and infuse balance in their lives.
Moving home, whether that’s living in a different city or a completely foreign country, can have its ups and downs. But giving yourself permission to make a change in your life can truly pay off. Through challenging times, outside your comfort zone, you can begin to see yourself and your experience of the world so completely different – a life so beautiful and beyond anything you could have ever imagined.
Here are my top five tips on how to thrive in your new home, whether you’re an expat in a new country country or just moving across town:
- Be open. It’s absolutely normal to feel overwhelmed in the beginning. Try to have an open mind and an open heart towards everything and everyone you come across in your day. Trust that when you shift your energy and perspective you ultimately change the experience of your new life. Try something new, whether its a different type of cuisine, watch a theatre/sports event live, or do as the locals do by participating in local traditions or holidays. Check your local Time Out, TripAdvisor or Yelp.
- Make local friends. It’s common as expats to flock together and bond in a state of change. But I encourage you to also make some local friends as this will help make it easier to assimilate and remember that locals typically have the best referrals for things to do, places to go and places to eat. Bear in mind expat friends also have a tendency to move again! Try finding a group on Meetup or joining a Facebook group.
- Stay connected. Keep in touch with your loved ones. Today’s technology is so incredibly amazing that there’s really no excuse not to. From smartphones to social media it’s impossible to miss a beat. It may be harder to coordinate with different time zones but staying connected with those you left behind will help you remain grounded and centred in your new life.
- Learn the language. It’s so tempting to just resort to English, but try to remain open to the entire experience. Trust that it’s ok to make mistakes, as that’s really the only way we truly learn. Practice with the taxi driver, your house cleaner, or a child – basically anyone in your circle that doesn’t speak English! It’s a wonderful (and fun!) way to learn more about the culture and meet new people.
- Stay positive. Like anywhere in this world you’ll have some good days and some not-so-good days. Keep feeling into “WHY” you moved to where you are today and keep moving forward towards your vision of your life. I encourage you to enjoy the ride with a heart of gratitude and never stop exploring.
I invite you to allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone and to have an adventure that’ll make you grow and evolve as a more compassionate human being – a citizen of the world. Because it’s in those moments of change that we truly know what we’re capable of and can begin to experience life more beautifully.
If you’re having difficulty thriving in a new and challenging environment then let’s talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary 30 minute call with me. I know I can help. I look forward to connect.
As always I’d love connecting with you and hear about your experience moving abroad and how you’re enjoying life in your new home. Head over to the comments section below to share.
With love and gratitude,