How (not) to: move to a new country


You wouldn’t think a new city could be lonely, with all the tourist attractions, new and shiny life options , friendly faces etc.- but it can be desperately so – and if you don’t have anyone/ anything to take your mind off it, you will find yourself drinking yourself to sleep or worse.. Watching Glee, back-to-back episodes, from Season 1.

Here’s a quick list – on how not to find yourself in a pit of international despair.

  1. Don’t have no one – this sounds pretty silly. I mean – you move somewhere new, to find new things/ people/ yourself. But honestly you are up for DISASTER if you don’t have one person to talk to, sometimes. Especially if you are in a country where YOU are the second language. If you don’t have friends of friends, or actual friends – put an ad on craigslist, and FIND someone. Not to rain on your “I’m a nomad  and I’ll float where I want” parade – but relocating to a new country is nothing like those super adventurous tampon commercials where everyone is making friends. People are arseholes, and mentally – you will thank me.
  2. If you don’t have friends, or access to some beige acquaintances > don’t not join language school as soon as you arrive (meaning – JOIN LANGUAGE SCHOOL) – and do this as soon as you arrive, not like 2 months in. You will make friends at language school –  it might feel much like what I imagine that Erasmus program feels like, which in my mind is mostly awkward – but at least you have a few Eastern Block europeans to talk about poached fish with and drink vodka. Distraction makes time move fast – and even if it’s with a handful of beige Erasmus type friends, spent in some sort of non-sophisticated bar drinking moscow mules > this is honestly better than watching How I Met Your Mother in your spare time.
  3. Don’t move for some form of romance – disaster. Things that will happen – you will not be together in 4 weeks time, and then you know where you are? Crying into some enormous glass of  wine at a bar, alone. This might be your regular Tuesday, and I’m sorry for that – but this picture is exactly how pathetic your life is. Even if you do have an interest in someone – have a job in the wings, have your language school, have an internship, HAVE SOMETHING. For two reasons – you need distraction, or else you are going to become that annoying person, that checks in all the time – that’s not you. Is that you, because if it is – get it together. Your second reason for having a life outside of your mate is because when it all falls to pieces (and it probably will, unless you have been together for an eternity – and then mazel tov) your future with a 24 hour hangover, crying into a wine glass with strangers is a terrifying place.
  4. Don’t have $/€0.00 in your Skype account – When your life hits rock bottom, or feels that way, don’t even THINK about talking to your new mates about it. They don’t give a shit. Chances are they are just like you, and have already been through all your petty first world relocation woes. You know who cares about your superficially “difficult” life? Your mum. You know who mostly doesn’t know how to use Skype when you first relocate? Your mum. So when life is hard – phone home. Skype has really good rates to land lines (normally) – and I swear, parents are the only people on the planet earth with home phones.
  5. Don’t take drugs – This isn’t because it’s bad for you, and you might die – I frankly couldn’t care less about your health. It’s mostly because you know all that fun you are having at nightclubs til 9A with mostly strangers? Just wait 24 hours. Those people you befriend during your latest drug binge – they were probably tourists and are halfway to {insert exotic country here} and you will be in such a hole depression you won’t even know how to remove yourself. You think shit’s slightly lonely when you relocate – the day after a bender you actually won’t even know how to operate with a smile on your face.
  6. Don’t feel obliged to be friends with people – So you made some friends through language school, good for you. Now – this might sound fucked, but their role in your (right now/ immediate) life is to go out with you, allowing you to make other friends. If they are perfectly nice and you want to keep them forever – you are a better human than I. But chances are – you are their second pick also, so don’t place all your eggs in the one basket. Get more friends. And as you start to meet people that are “your people” start removing the others. Otherwise your entire international experience will feel like some sort of obligatory networking event. And God knows no one really likes those – accept except Americans.
  7. Don’t have less than 7 friends at any one time – 14 is ideal, but I understand you just arrived – you can’t expect miracles. Seven is enough for 1 each day of the week. By doing this you don’t smother your new friends to the point they don’t want to see you anymore. 1 day a week, one different friend; you remain interesting slash most importantly not annoying, and frankly – so do they.
  8. Don’t just explore your immediate habitat – BE A TOURIST. I understand that you’re a “local” now, how cultured. But you know what is fun – treating life as a holiday. So when it get’s exhausting, and you consider throwing in the towel – get on your bike (also, buy a bike) and ride to Brandenburger Tor/ the Eiffel Tower/ the Uffizi – you get me? Again – BE-A-TOURIST. If you don’t realise how charmed your existance is through the possibilities of seeing new and exciting monuments that are on the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD to where you are normally situated – you shouldn’t be living away from home. You should have stayed there – I’m sorry.

Now go – achieve life. Slash you’re welcome.


About LUCY

Femme of sass, sometimes.