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Living abroad?

Join InterNations to meet other expats where you live and read more articles like Make Yourself at Home with relevant information for expats.

Tobias Karlsen

Living in Gambia, from Norway

"Connecting Global Minds: What a fantastic idea! I've come to know so many warm-hearted expats via InterNations. Thanks!"

Johanna S. Mattikanen

Living in Ghana, from Finland

"Finding work in Ghana is not easy for an expat woman. InterNations members helped me get involved in a charity project."

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Living Abroad

Make Yourself at Home

Most expats dive right into organizing their new life. While the job search, apartment hunt and bureaucratic issues take up most of their time, they forget to fully settle in. Take your time! InterNations gives you tips on how you can make yourself feel at home while living abroad.

While they are moving, running errands and looking for a job, many expats do not take the time during the first few weeks to really settle into their new home. The fact that they have come to this foreign country for an extended stay, maybe even for good, does not sink in for quite a while. As a result, their new home feels like nothing more than a temporary accommodation.

Don’t let this happen to you! With our help, you will quickly get accustomed to your new environment and really turn it into a home away from home.

Give Your New Home a Personal Touch

You can give even a hotel room or furnished apartment your own personal touch if you put up some pictures of your family and friends from back home. Maybe you have brought postcards or one of those nifty digital picture frames you can set up to cycle through all your favorite pictures. If you add something that is near and dear to you to your new environment, it will be easier for you to avoid nostalgia and acute home-sickness. This way, you can make even a temporary accommodation more homely without having to start driving nails into any walls. And then, once you have found a more permanent home, you can get to decorating and furnishing it just the way you like it.

Take a Shopping Field Trip

It can take quite some time until the container with your belongings finally arrives at your door step. Maybe you have even decided to leave some of your household goods in storage or to sell them before leaving your country of origin. Until you can fill your new home with your favorite leather couch or that mahogany desk you inherited from your grandfather, you need furniture and household goods that will do the trick instead. After all, no one wants to use cardboard boxes as furniture for longer than absolutely necessary.

Make a list of all the things you will need to turn your new place into a home. Take field trips to local stores and choose things that fit your personal taste. Don’t just focus on practical things like silverware or a toilet brush. With your budget in mind, buy plants, curtains, sheets and pictures to decorate your new home the way you like it. That way, you can give your new place a personal touch.

Become an Explorer

It may seem trivial in comparison to everything that has to be taken care of, but exploring your new home abroad is essential for really settling in. Buy a map of your new hometown and take little walks or simply drive around with your car. You will soon find shops and cafés in your neighborhood that you like and learn where to buy the freshest produce or where the nicest park is.

Do not hesitate to ask for help or directions. That way you will quickly get in touch with the locals. Another way to do this is by doing volunteer work or attending local festivities. Getting involved in your local community will not only enable to get to know your neighborhood in general, but this is also a perfect way to make first friends. Your new hometown surely has a lot to offer so go out and explore!