How to feel at home in a new country
Wise people have said that switching countries, specially continents, is one of the best things one can do for personal growth. I don’t know about that yet, but I know this: it is fun. And, it is hard (especially if you haven’t travelled abroad much before). But I think I’ve found a secret recipe to this, based on my own experience.
I moved to Toronto from Mumbai almost exactly couple months ago. It’s been quite a ride so far. I’d say I’m very close to feeling at home. Based on this funny little article on The Culture Shock Model, I’m on stage 4. So what is the best way to overcome the hurdles of settling?
You probably must’ve read and heard from some people that in order to settle in a new country, you must ‘socialize’, ‘explore’, ‘get to work’ or the most vague one i.e. ‘get out there’. These are all good things to do and almost everyone does them, but there’s one experience that’s way more effective.
Something very unique happened with me about a week ago, because of which I suddenly started feeling at home, in Toronto. It was one of those experiences that kind of, flipped the switch wherein it struck me that this new city, in this new country, is my home.
The formula that I’m trying to put across is this: For a very brief period, move away from your new city. Go to another very different city (in a different province if possible), live there for a couple of days and see what happens. This is the point where you start missing your home a little bit. But this time it’s your new home, the city you travelled from couple days back!
And almost instantly, a feeling sinks in that there is some place close by, which you can call ‘home’. Now, all of this is fun process. I’m not suggesting that this stuff is for some sort of namby-pambies who’d whine about homesickness every time they step a foot out of the house. This is a very practical thing to do, which not only strengthens your heart in terms of accepting the new place, it also makes you travel more and enjoy it!
Anyway, enough theory. I highly recommend trying this procedure. And how hard can it be? It’s pretty cheap to do as well. We live in the generation of Airbnb after all.
Btw, the city that I went to where this, sort of, ‘epiphany’ happened was Montreal. Beautiful city. Would definitely visit some time again. But for now, my new home, Toronto: