Moving to a new city for a job or internship is certainly exciting—and overwhelming. Not only do you have to assimilate yourself into a professional workplace, but you also have to learn to embrace your new home. Making yourself comfortable in a new place can seem like a nearly impossible feat.
However, there is a plethora of ways to embrace your new area, ranging from making small tweaks in your daily schedule to boldly putting yourself out there to meet new people.
As a recent émigré to New York City, I’ve learned one cardinal rule to establishing and maintaining a comfortable existence in a foreign area. It’s simple: place importance on your social network(s). In a large new city, feelings of loneliness can be averted best by surrounding yourself with others.
Focus on building different social circles. You may already have friends in the city you are moving to, so if you do, give those friends a call and reconnect over dinner or drinks. Getting together with people from your past will re-establish a semblance of comfort in an unfamiliar area. Also, old and trusted friends can be your tour guides. Ask them for recommendations and advice ranging from restaurants to places to get your hair cut.
Another way to assimilate into a new area is by keeping up with a daily routine. Familiar regimens from home can create a sense of security in a chaotic transition. Participating in regular activities such as running, art classes, etc. can also serve as opportunities to meet people with similar interests. Spread yourself out—places like coffee houses, farmer’s markets and the gym are all great places to meet potential friends.
Furthermore, in situations where you have the opportunity to meet new people, be bold. Resist clutching onto the security blanket of friends from home; while it’s important to maintain old friendships, it’s also vital to build new ones. Learning to branch out forces you to open up to unfamiliar people that may ultimately enrich your experience.
Yes, it is intimidating to be independent in a new and unknown city. But being bold can serve to improve your social life, cultural knowledge and even your confidence. Learning to strike up conversations with strangers at places of interest can prove to be mutually beneficial. Being open to new experiences and having a tendency to accept rather than reject opportunities to go to new places or to meet new people will prove to make your adjustment to big city life much easier—and much more fun!