Tips for moving and settling into a new country

Luxembourg isn’t my first time moving to a country.  As I mentioned in my about me section, I am originally from Jamaica.  I moved to the UK when I was in my teens.  So settling into a new country comes easily to me.

I know for some, settling in isn’t so easy.  They worry about things like not getting used to the culture, making friends, being homesick etc.  My advice to them is usually “to feel the fear and do it anyway”.  It’s normal to be scared, but if it’s something you really want to do, then I say don’t let the fear stop you.

My friends always comment that they don’t think they’d ever have the courage to up sticks and move the way I did.  They think that what I did was brave.  If the truth be told, I was scared but I knew it was a good opportunity.  I was not going to let a little thing like fear stop me.  You shouldn’t either.  If you are considering a move to a new country, these are my top 5 tips.

Research the country you want to move to

It is one thing to be in love with the idea of moving to a country, but it is another thing to live there.  From my experience of living in Luxembourg, it is often the people who knew nothing about the country they were moving to that end up hating it.  You know the old saying “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”…….

I would advise anyone to make sure they research their new country thoroughly before they move.  Find out about the culture, what there is to see and do around. Do they speak your language?  If not, how easy is it to get by with little to no knowledge of the language spoken in the country.  Are the laws there different from what you are used to?

Find a job

I would always advise someone looking to move to find a job before moving.  You don’t want to get there and find out that the job market for your speciality is non-existent.  Or that it will take you months of searching to find something.  Having a job will make the transition easier.

If you don’t have a job before you go, at least research the job market and send your CV out before you go to get the ball rolling, and to get some indication of how easy it will be to find a job once you get there.

Join an expat forum

An expat forum is a great way of making friends.  If you’re smart, you will join before moving so that you can get real life experiences from people who already live there.  If you’re lucky, you might even make a couple of friends who will be happy to take you under their wings once you arrive.

My forum of choice was Justlanded.  This website was brilliant!  Before I even arrived in Luxembourg, I had made plans to meet a friend for lunch, dinner with another and arranged to go to a concert.  It was a great help for me in making friends.  Without it and all the information it offered, I don’t think I would have gotten used to my new country so quickly.

Don’t forget the paperwork

I know it’s boring, but I’m always amazed at how many people here don’t seem to know what they need to do before they move.  Things such as notifying the tax authorities that you are moving.

These things are very important.  You don’t want to run into problems because you did not complete all the paperwork and sent it off before you left the country.

I found the checklist on this website, very useful when I moved.

Put yourself out there

You’re not going to make any friends if you keep saying no to things.  If someone invites you out for a quick drink after work or a barbecue, say yes.  If you don’t enjoy their company, you are not obligated to socialise with them again.  Saying yes, will at least give you the chance at making a new friend, so put yourself out there!


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