There are lots of things that one can do to better integrate to a new culture right from the beginning. We asked a life coach, Stela to create a list for our expat community and share her knowledge with us.
The first thing she suggests is to create a vision with one single goal: finding balance within the new boundaries and aiming to leave the past behind.
Find her list of 12 points below to ease into a new life.
1. Learn the language
This might be more challenging for some than others, but this is a very significant step towards integrating to a new country. The French are especially proud of their language and they are much more likely to help you if you approach them with a French sentence - even if it's not correct. It will be easier to find a job, connect to the locals, deal with the administrative paperwork and so on. Even if you plan to stay only for a short period, show some respect and make the effort to learn the basics.
Visit the local farmers' market, walk to the post office or bank and spend some time in one of the public gardens. Give yourself enough time to observe the locals, little by little you will understand how everything works.
3. Ask a lot of questions
There is no stupid question. Engage with the (local) people on your way to somewhere and ask for directions; in a shop ask for more information about their loyalty card; or even start up a conversation at the market about cooking tips. These interactions will make you feel less isolated and help to increase your vocabulary. Plus you might get to know somebody very nice along the way, who becomes your friend.