Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Settling in

by : 
EloiseS

Settling into living in a new country can be a strange process. Sometimes it can happen very quickly and naturally. But sometimes, even when you think you’re starting to settle, you suddenly become unsettled again.

Usually, living abroad comes with fresh and exciting new experiences, and this is often what draws people to move to a different country. It’s the bits in between, however, that are more difficult to get used to. The things that we’re most used to at home, such as our daily routine, the food we eat on a regular basis, and who we talk to day to day, are so deeply rooted within us that we don’t really realise what has happened.

For example, moving to China has certainly been a thrilling new experience. From the start, the many differences between China and the UK have been captivating. In China, the word “crowd” takes on a whole new meaning. You haven’t seen a real crowd until you’ve been to China. Cultural traditions, such as folk dancing in public squares, and card games being played on sofas outside, make you pause and appreciate the differences between societies. Novelties like these are what make you look forward to learning about and getting used to the place you’ve moved to.

After you’ve started to come to terms with the things that clearly differ between your home country and your adopted one, you start to think you’re settling in. But then, it’s those little things that differ from the daily routine you’ve spent a lifetime getting used to that quietly start to surface, and make you feel slightly less at home than you did a week ago. Figuring out what it is that’s unsettling you, and then adapting your well-established habits to suit your new environment can take time. Eventually, though, you’ll find a way to keep hold of the things you’re most attached to, so that they can exist comfortably, although altered, in a different environment. 

On top of that, you can start to adopt new habits, and get used to new routines, unique to your time spent abroad. Before you know it, you’ll have the same feeling of having to settle back into your old routine in your home country. Soon you’ll be longing to be in the stimulating, unsettled position of living abroad.

Discussion
Have you ever had trouble settling in to a new school or a new town or country?