How to adapt to a new country

Moving to a new country and learning to adapt to life in a new culture can be a massive step out of your comfort zone and one that comes with both highs and lows. The culture in England is not that different from the Netherlands but if you move further away, it can be quite challenging to adapt to differences in culture, whether it’s food, language, customs or the weather!

An example: having mostly heard American-English while at school, I’ve had to get used to using certain words (like saying trousers instead of pants and jumper instead of sweater).

It’s really important to be prepared when you’re moving abroad. These tips will help you adapt to life in a new country!

1. Engage with locals

Engaging with locals is one of the best ways to help you feel like part of a community and make friends. It also requires a lot of effort. As an au pair, I was automatically engaging in activities to do with the kids. But taking an exercise or language class or volunteering with a local organisation are also great ways to get involved with your local community and meet new people.

2. Say ‘Yes!’ to everything

It can be so easy to just stay in your room and not leave the house after moving to a new country because you’re feeling overwhelmed. Don’t do that. It will just make you more homesick. Instead, you should open yourself up to new experiences and say “Yes!” to every opportunity that presents itself to you. Embrace the differences in culture. This will help you adapt more quickly!

3. Share what you know 

You won’t realise how different your culture is until you’re living someone else. People in your new country usually love hearing about what your life was like. Have some friends over for dinner and cook a dish from your home country, teach people a few short phrases in your language or share photos of where you used to live.

4. Get out and explore

I was lucky enough to be an au pair when I first moved to England and could use this as a basis for exploring the country. I took every opportunity I had to visit nearby cities, go on hikes and wander around the area. But even if you have a full-time job, you can still go out and explore new places on the weekends!

5. Learn about the country’s history

It might not be very interesting (unless you’re really into history), but knowing a country’s history can be really important. A lot of aspects of modern-day life are influenced by things that happened in the past. Knowing the history of a country will help you understand traditions and different aspects of your new culture.

These tips should help you soon feel at home in your new country! Moving abroad, whether it’s as an au pair or for a different reason, is a great experience and it will leave you with a new cultural understanding.

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22 Comments

  1. 15 April 2019 / 9:21 am

    The first few days are usually the hardest but I’m sure following these steps would help a new person adjust perfectly!

  2. Samar
    11 April 2019 / 11:49 am

    Getting out and exploring is the main thing.

    truly said.

  3. Jasmine M
    10 April 2019 / 8:09 pm

    I applaud you! I feel so much anxiety just thinking about moving to a new country. LOL These are some great tips that you could use when moving to a new country or even just traveling to a new country too. I know one thing that I need to start doing is engaging with locals when I travel places myself.

  4. 10 April 2019 / 5:57 pm

    Thanks for sharing these tips to adapt to a new country without hassles.

  5. 10 April 2019 / 4:01 pm

    Great and useful tips you shared I always find it diffudiff how to adapt to new place but now I think I can.

  6. Lyosha Varezhkina
    10 April 2019 / 3:40 pm

    very useful post. Nowadays we seam to travel a lot and often stay in new places for a long time. it is important to adapt as soon as possible

  7. Niña Pingol Cochingco
    10 April 2019 / 10:44 am

    This is a wonderful tips for those who are new into a country. I’ thinking to move soon on other countries.

    • maartjevansandwijk
      Author
      10 April 2019 / 2:42 pm

      That’s awesome! What country are you thinking of moving to?

  8. 10 April 2019 / 9:56 am

    As an expat I can say this is very true!

  9. 10 April 2019 / 9:37 am

    Thank you. Great advice. Definitely knowing the people around and the new culture helps to adapt faster. Otherwise you may feel isolated.

  10. ogbugbu14
    10 April 2019 / 1:35 am

    informative and educative, thanks for sharing

  11. 10 April 2019 / 1:33 am

    This is a very useful article, I will save it ..great share!!

  12. You, Me and Benny
    9 April 2019 / 10:32 pm

    This is a wonderful post with great advice. Definitely learning the history would help a ton!

  13. 9 April 2019 / 10:03 pm

    So many great tips. I especially agree with getting out and engaging with the locals. Making new friends can help ease the transition to your new country!

  14. 9 April 2019 / 8:32 pm

    These are some great tips and I think they’d be great tips for whenever you’re traveling too, not just for when you move to another country! I was born in the Philippines and moved to America when I was really young. I didn’t visit again until I was in my mid 20’s and had to use all these above to get the most out of my experience!

  15. 9 April 2019 / 8:29 pm

    In my career I have met dozens of families that have packed up everything and moved to start fresh. I’m always amazed at the courage of these people to take on such an adventure. We moved several times growing up locally and that was challenging enough, I couldn’t imagine changing countries and cultures.

  16. alwaysusebutter
    9 April 2019 / 8:20 pm

    Great tips for adapting to a new country! It’s so fun getting to know your new country but also comes with many challenges. And as being from Sweden and having lived in Oslo, Singapore and Bangkok I’d say it’s even harder when it’s “almost” the same – if you move from Europe to Asia you’re prepared for major differences but I found in Oslo that I just assumed everything was the same and that lead to many awkward/weird (and sometimes very funny) situations.

    • maartjevansandwijk
      Author
      10 April 2019 / 2:41 pm

      I totally agree! Moving from the Netherlands to England, I wasn’t expecting things to be that different. But there were definitely some things I wish I’d known beforehand! Probably easier if you are expecting a completely different culture because then you know things are probably going to go wrong

  17. 9 April 2019 / 7:11 pm

    I think a lot of this can even apply to moving to a new state. I love the advice to say yes to everything. That’s super helpful because you said, otherwise you’ll just not do anything and want to go back home.

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