Moving to a different country can be exciting and challenging in equal measure. Whether you’re living abroad for work or have moved for other reasons, it’s important to feel settled and part of your adopted country.
Some people talk about the ‘three-year syndrome’, which means that after about three years overseas you may start to feel a bit jaded by your surroundings and lifestyle. And of course you may also be feeling homesick. Boredom sets in and what was once unfamiliar and novel, perhaps even glamorous, now begins to look a little tired and routine. In short, the excitement has gone.
So how do you prevent this from happening? The answer is to develop hobbies and pastimes that connect you to the local culture and people, and make you feel content and fulfilled.
Learn the language
If you don’t speak the language, the first step is to take classes. That may sound obvious but the payoff is not simply that it will help you in day-to-day situations: it’s also the best route to integrate, widen your circle of friends and social contacts, and allow you to pursue interests where a knowledge of the local language is essential. You could also say that learning the language is a hobby in itself. You will certainly gain a sense of accomplishment and feel better about yourself if you learn a second language.
Absorb the local culture
Once you learn the local language, you will be able to enjoy film, theatre and other art forms that are not in your mother tongue. Cinema is a particularly good way to absorb and enjoy a different culture, and it will have the double benefit of reinforcing your language skills.
Take part in sport and keep fit
Pursuing a sport and keeping fit is good for you regardless of where you live, but it has added value when you move to another county. It’s a way of feeling grounded if you are in unfamiliar surroundings and will help you to meet people as well as stay healthy.
If you played tennis in your home country, why not look for a tennis club in your new country? Or maybe you prefer football or dance? Whatever your favourite sport or activity, practising it when you move overseas will ensure continuity and balance in your life. And if you’ve never tried sport, why not take up a sport or activity with a local flavour? Sumo wrestling or bungee jumping may not be to your taste, but there is sure to be something that will spark your interest. As the saying goes, when in Rome…
Something less energetic may suit you better, so consider hobbies such as photography or art. Photography is a way of engaging with your surroundings and capturing new experiences, and as a foreigner you are sure to find plenty of sights to fire your imagination. A different culture and landscape offer rich possibilities for photography; after all, isn’t that why we take our cameras on holiday?
Something else to consider is blogging. Many people who live overseas like to talk about their new life and share their experiences with family and friends. And some have even turned it into a profitable hobby by monetising their blogs. If you like to write, and perhaps have an interest in photography as well, you could combine words and picture in a blog that captures your life in a foreign land.
Saving money for your leisure time
No doubt you will also want to stay in touch with family and friends in your home country. Very possibly you will also be sending money home to support your loved ones. If so, remember that Xpress Money will help you to save on international transfers, leaving you with more money to spend on your hobbies and pastimes.