Moving to a new place where you don’t know anyone can be a pretty daunting experience, especially if you go alone.
I know integrating yourself into a community can feel overwhelming particularly if it is a small town. When I moved to Christchurch it was a lot easier to make friends and find connections, simply because there were more people around!
If you are moving to a city big, or small, there will be hurdles in your path. I’ve made this post for those of you out there who have just moved to a new place and are needing some guidance and re-assurance that everything will be OK!
6 things you must do when moving to a new place:
- Take time for yourself in the beginning:
Ticky tour around the area, get to know where all the supermarkets, cafes, malls, outdoor activities, gyms and doctors are, that kind of thing. Be nosey and get to know the geography of your area. Quite often local cafes have an information boards/pamphlets with upcoming events in the area and good places to get discount food. If you are struggling with a doctors practice just check out the yellow pages (If in NZ) and ring around, you will soon find one! Also, if you’re in NZ there is this really cool website called firsttable that gives you 50% off your meal when you book the first table of the evening! So cool! You book online and pick a restaurant (their availability for the week is highlighted).
- Hang out with your work friends: One thing I found really weird was that you can actually hang out with your work friends! Before my current job I only ever had part-time jobs, so I didn’t really clock up the time to make good friends. When you work full-time you can actually get to know the people you work with, which is pretty cool.
- Sometimes you have to plan to make friends: I had a couple of friend set up dates that were instigated through mutual friends, thinking we would have similar interests. It didn’t work out but that’s okay, my confidence grew!
- Join clubs or classes: Maybe a sports team, art, yoga, gym, baking class, hiking group or book club. Anything really! Even if you don’t want to (which trust me, I didn’t in the beginning). Just try your best to integrate into the community, this should make you feel more at home and like you have a sense of purpose.
- Put yourself out there: Invite people you don’t know well to go out for a coffee with you. Be bold!
- STICK IT OUT: I reckon it takes it least 6 months to feel settled in a place. I have only just started to really feel like this place is home and I’ve been here nearly a year.
3 things to like about moving to do a new city:
- No one knows you: You can literally create a new identity. It’s a good way to start fresh and begin a life the way you want.
- Making friends with people you wouldn’t usually associate with: The thing with having no friends is you are so open! You give people a chance that you likely wouldn’t have before. I feel like this has definitely helped me grow as a person.
- Inviting your friends and family to visit: I love the fact that my friends and family can come and visit me and see how cool my new set up is! It’s fun to do new things with them and it also gives me something to look forward to.
3 things to watch out for:
- You may not like it straight away: I know I didn’t! I moved into this dingy, dusty and dirty flat that made me sick. I had this constant ache in my gut and negative thoughts crossing my mind. I had to get out. And I did. I was resilient and knew a place I liked would come along.
- You may feel a little lost: Don’t get down, you will find connections! Always remember your family and friends haven’t abandoned you because you have moved. They are still right there. One thing I found different about my move to Nelson was the fact I didn’t make quick connections compared to my move to Christchurch. This was because at Uni everyone is in the same boat and you have so much in common that you kind of automatically become friends but that is not the case when you move to a new place outside of Uni. You have to actually put in the time and effort to form friendships, which doesn’t mean they will be any less of a friendship they may just be different!
- It’s scary: In the beginning it was really scary! I was always getting lost. I felt like a stranger and like no one knew I actually had friends and a life back home. (I was just the weird new girl). But honestly after a bit of time I kind of just blinked and felt part of the community.
I absolutely love Nelson and it’s culture and I definitely won’t be leaving anytime soon. (Until we get our van!).
My message to all of you thinking of moving or have recently moved is to be brave, confident and look after yourself. You will prosper, I promise!