Personally, I love being in another country and culture. There are a few different aspects to keep in consideration when you are looking to move to a new country. I have personally found the move to Sweden to be as straight forward as it could be, but this is not always the case.
One area that is important to have in place is that of accommodation. Ensuring that you have some accommodation already in place when you move somewhere new is so important. The last thing you want to do is be stuck in hotels, not only is this an insanely expensive option, you are not getting settled.
Getting settled in
You are going to a new country, of course it is different. One of the things that I can say here is to get involved in something outside of work as soon as you can. Try and link up with something that involves the native speakers as well. It can be easy to fall into the groups that speak your native language, but doing makes it difficult to integrate into the way of life abroad.
This is easier said than done. For instance, in Sweden, the level of English is very high, this does make it easy for a native speaker (me) to live here, but it makes it hard to learn the language! What a difficult situation, I know…
I have started to look at what is on offer after work as well, the app Meet-upis great for this. Look at what is happening around the area and if there is anything of interest! You can try everything once, if you don’t like it, move onto something else. Moving to a new place with new things is difficult, you have left family, friends etc… it’s important not shut yourself in. For one, I started music lessons again when I moved to Sweden. It allows me to get better at what I love, as well as a way to meet new people.
Prepare for Culture Shock
Every country does it differently. It can be fun to see how people talk and deal with daily life, but as a visitor, you need to be open these cultural differences and deal with them the best you can. Some make sense and you want to take them for yourself, others don’t and won’t! It’s all part of the journey.
If you don’t speak the language, try and get lessons as soon as you can. Start simple, watch shows with subtitles, Netflix is great for this. Read the news, read children’s books. I must admit, this is an area that I am struggling with, after a full day of work, the last thing I want to do is pick up a textbook! I am pushing for this to become part of my daily routine, that way it becomes the norm. you want these activities to become part of your day, to be in place. That way it feels normal to do them. Getting those good habits in place is key for these activities.
This is just the start for my move. I have been in Sweden since September and it has been a great journey so far. It is great to meet new people and do new things, it’s exciting to see what the future brings.
If you have any questions please message me, my Linkedin is here.
By Alexander Cook (BA Geography and Business 2012, University of Liverpool/ MSc Renewable Technology 2014 at University of Hull) – Business Analyst at E.ON
Alex is an NTU Alumni Fellow. You can find out more about how to get involved with the Alumni Fellowship Programme here