September has arrived, and with it the start of a new academic year. All over the country, children are returning to school, young adults are leaving home for university or their first job, and managers are returning from their summer break, wondering how to improve their business over the next 12 months.
A time for new beginnings – but if that new start includes a relocation, how do you make the most of that initial time you spend in a new country? One of the first goals should be integration. It is really important to find out how to navigate around your new home and also to get to know your neighbours, local shopkeepers, school teachers and the others who will be able to help you settle in (or who may get upset if you make mistakes!).
Make time to find out about the customs in your new home. For example: did you know that in Switzerland you are not allowed to do noisy housework on a Sunday? So, no mowing the lawn, washing clothes or getting the vacuum cleaner out.
One really good way to make new friends is to join a club or society. Choose a hobby you already like, or pick something new. This is a great way to get out of the house, have something to look forward to as well as meeting new people and practicing your language skills. When in Germany, one of our tutors joined a Ski Fit club (even though she can’t ski!) and had a lovely summer of circuit training and cycle tours with them – mostly to local cafes and restaurants! Germany in particular has a good network of Vereine (clubs and societies) and there is something for everyone. Au pairs we have known in the UK have joined a Basketball club, volunteered with GirlGuiding and started Thai boxing, opening up a world of other opportunities in the process.
Do think of your family too. If you are relocating together then spend some time thinking about how your partner/children will settle in, as the success of a placement can be as much about family happiness as it is about the workplace. It is best to do this in advance if possible. While children are very adaptable, the first day at a new school will be easier if they can understand simple instructions, say their name and ask where the toilet is! For the non-working partner it can be very frustrating as it can be hard even to go shopping without a basic grasp of the local language. Look for local conversation groups and classes, and consider whether the family should take some language classes before you leave.
Planning is key to making a success of your new home. Spending a little time on research and preparation should help you all to feel at ease more quickly and to really enjoy that time away. If you have recently arrived in the UK, or are considering relocation to another country then why not give us a call at Language Learners to see how we can help you and your family with your language requirements?