The First Few Days of Expatriate LifeFotolia
Use the first days of your expatriate life to settle and explore.
During the first days of your new expatriate life, all those new impression will just hit you at once. For most assignees and their families, this is the time when expatriate life is still an adventure and the most exciting.
For others, it is simply overwhelming to be in a completely new environment. After all, you are in a new environment, your to-do-list is probably endless and easiest tasks become a real challenge. Take it slow and relax! Now is the time to start expatriate life by exploring your home-to-be.
Make Yourself Comfortable
Hotel rooms are usually rather impersonal, with clean white sheets, white towels and very standard, boring pictures on the walls. But even if you are planning to stay just for a few days, you can make yourself comfortable. To kick off expatriate life in style, try to unpack your suitcase or at least take out some pictures and personal belongings which are near and dear to you.
If you have moved into an apartment temporarily, you can take it a step further and put up some pictures. Your favorite flowers will give your new expatriate life a nice touch.
Explore Your Neighborhood
After you have gotten some rest and taken a shower, it is now time to explore your new home. The local tourist office can provide expatriates with maps and information on life in different neighborhoods and must-see places around town.
You can begin by doing the tourist-thing to get a general impression of expatriate life in your new environment. Find out where the nearest grocery store is, how far it is to the closest park and what goodies the coffee shop next door sells. Maybe you will even discover a secret, not-so-touristy spot, bound to become your new favorite hang-out throughout your expatriate life.
Use Public Transport
This is also the time to figure out how public transportation works in your new home town (provided it is safe to use). Every country (and sometimes every city) has a different ticketing system and different fares. You can often learn about this online or visit the information counter at a local train or bus station.
However, to learn how long it takes you to travel via bus or subway from your home to your office, it is best to actually travel the distance. That way, you will also learn (without time pressure) how to get to work and back.
Whatever you do, during the first few days of your expatriate life, it is important not to let the new situation overwhelm you. And always remember, while you may not know your way around yet, you will start to feel right at home at some point – and then expatriate life has begun in earnest.