Table Rock State Park

How to Settle into Greenville as an Expat

It might havebrown-bag-and-chair been a dream for years. It might come up on very short notice. There is a job opportunity abroad and you think: take it or leave it?

Finally making a decision takes the first big load off your mind. But right after saying YES, it seems like there is a never-ending list of things that need to be done before the move. It doesn’t matter if you have four weeks to prepare or four months; you will always think there is not enough time to organize everything.

The day when you sit on the plane waiting for it to leave your home country and fly into the great adventure will arrive before you know it. Taking the first steps into the house or apartment that is meant to be your home from now on, you might think: “Was this really a good idea?”

Let me give you some thoughts from my experience on what might make it easier for you to adjust to the new life and culture.

 

Explore the area and gather information

You might want to start with the neighborhood and just walk down the street. The neighbors saw you moving in and are interested in who lives next to them. If you see them outside, take the opportunity to introduce yourself.

hands-way-guide-touristTake the car and drive around to see where the nearest grocery store is. Locate a pharmacy, a fitness center or park, and daycare or schools if you have kids. Leaving the house and talking to other people will make it easier for you to settle in.

Drive around the city and explore what it has to offer in regards to your needs. Go to the city hall and grab some information there on events and activities in your new hometown. Or look it up on the internet.

 

Take an intercultural training

Even if you have been to the country you just moved to many times before on holiday or business trips, actually living here is different. Let experts help you gain deep insight into the new culture, what to do and what to avoid, how to get settled alone or with your family, how to approach others, where to find the best restaurants and the most beautiful places the area has to offer. Good intercultural trainers accommodate your personal interests and respond to all your questions and concerns. See what we have to offer at our Wetzel Languages website.

 

Connect with others

Your workplace is probably the first place where you get to meet new people. Meetings and daily business will keep you busy. However, during lunch or a little small talk at the coffeemaker is a good time to get to know some of your coworkers better and learn about the culture and their way of life. It’s also a good way to get insider tips for restaurants and weekend trips.

Meeting new people outside the office seems like a bigger challenge. Try to find group classes or team sports activities. Join the local fitness club, an art class, hiking group, photography class or language group. If you have kids, be open to other parents at school, on the playground or during other afternoon activities. Volunteering is also a good way to meet new people while at the same time practicing the language.

I hope some of these ideas make it easier for you to feel at home away from home quickly and to enjoy the great adventure of living in a foreign country!