The lead up to moving abroad seems like the most overwhelming process, but what about when you’ve arrived in your new home? What’s next? The first couple of weeks after moving are essential to quickly feeling settled into your new life abroad. Here’s some advice I’ve learned firsthand from my move to Spain.
Make friends immediately!
Avoid the depressing, lonely times by reaching out to anyone you may know in your new country. Even if you don’t know anyone, you can go to a yoga class, book club event, or any type of activity where like-minded individuals meet up. Having time to yourself is important, but having a group of friends to confide in definitely makes the transition easier. If you’re an auxiliar de conversación, be sure to check the Facebook groups and make an effort to meet up with fellow auxiliares once you get to Spain. On day 2, I met up with one of the British auxiliares. Now he’s one of my roommates, and I consider him a really good friend of mine. Not to mention, I can endlessly annoy him with my sad attempts of having a proper British accent.
Get plenty of rest
Jet lag comes at ya fast. Before you know it, you’re on the other side of the world, haven’t slept in 30 hours, and look like a hot mess. The key to making the initial adjustment is getting enough sleep every night. I had trouble with this, which made the apartment search much more draining. Ironically, I arrived in Ibiza the week of the famous clubs’ closing parties, which are the last huge parties before the season ends. However tempting these parties were, I was already so disoriented from the move and knew it wasn’t a good idea. Part of it had to do with the fact that I didn’t have a place to live and the cover fees to go to these parties were astronomically high, but hey, there was a more responsible part of myself that didn’t go because I needed to take care of myself for the upcoming months in Ibiza.
Embrace the feeling of unfamiliarity
I awkwardly looked around for a girl my age that I’ve never met. She told me to meet her at a certain cafe at 10. No, I wasn’t buying drugs. I was viewing her apartment, and I was pretty nervous because she only spoke Spanish. Though my knowledge of the Spanish language is pretty good, I tend to forget the most simple verb conjugations when I’m nervous. It’s a real problem. I took the five minutes before meeting up with her to review useful vocabulary.
How’s this for a pop quiz, I thought.
Thirty minutes of forced conversation and a highly uncomfortable amount of long pauses later, I left her apartment and exhaled a sigh of relief. It was super awkies, but I was happy that I forced myself out of my box. Isn’t that usually a big part of why people have the desire to move abroad, though? By moving abroad, we want to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones to grow, evolve and learn more about ourselves and the world around us. When you’re going through something uncomfortable or frustrating, remember that it’s really just another way that you’re bettering yourself.
The amount of times I’ve been lost this past month would send the older generations on an endless rant on how “back in their day, they used a map the old fashioned way and got around just fine and kids these days need to learn how to use common sense”, but hey, this millennial didn’t have data or wifi so GPS wasn’t an option and being lost was inevitable. I think the best way to discover a city is to get lost and find new places within the city. Just last week, I turn a turn down the wrong street and found a park I didn’t know existed! Life is exciting like that, so do yourself a favor and get lost.
I’ll be honest. It’s taken me a few weeks to feel like I’m really settled here in Ibiza, but I’ve learned that all of the above helped tremendously with the transition. I hope my experiences can help you out in some way! Questions or comments? You know what to do!