Thursday, July 9, 2015

Explore and Conquer

New in town

Arrived, but where?

Finally, after packing all your stuff, saying goodbye to your relatives and drinking your last beer with friends the adventure can begin. In most of the cases you will choose the car, bus, train or an airplane to reach your new home. Despite you already have researched online for accommodation, the university or a job and also have been successful on that, you still are going to feel a little bit lost as soon as you leave the train. By finding youself in an unknown environment will let you experience some natural feelings like curiosity, confidence but also fear. Last mentioned is of course not alwas very helpful.

So what can you do to counter this reaction?

Well, if you have in advance the option to travel to your new destination before you actually move there, do it! Sometimes we have the opportunity to start a new job in another city some hours away. Usually we balance if it's worth it to take the job and move, but here is the point, we do this based on assumptions. We assume that our new company will give us the chance to show our skills, we assume that most people will treat us friendly and fair and we assume that the place itself isn't going to be that bad. Those assumptions are often based on what we have heard about our destination. For example, if I would ask you how it probably is to live in Naples, Italy some people would instantly say: 'isn't it a dangerous place?', 'it is a poor and dirty city' or 'I think you find there very friedly and open people'. Despite there might be some true in such statements you will figure out that everyone does have it's own perception of the city and that there is no real 'truth'. If people complain about the infrastructure, this may do not apply to you because you are used to have even worse experiences or because you will not need them so much since your flat is right next to the university. The same applies to the assessment about the mentality of the people. An often used perception about Germans is, that they are hardworking and always on time but also that they are very cold. This is only the message out there, but when you come and meet the right persons you will may prove this prejudice wrong. Probably you will find not quite perfect but very friendly persons - you never know!

Don't let you intimidate yourself beforehand. Try to prepare yourself by self-experiencing how live is there, discover places and memorize major hubs of the city. After you arrived try to have a walk through the streets, visit parks and shopping areas and most important talk with natives, random people. 

It's also very helpful to talk as soonas you arrived with your new working colleagues, you barely know, to increase you knowledge about the city and how they evaluate things. It's a great source you shouldn't waste and who knows, may they spontaneously will invite you after work to the bar you talked about with them at the lunch break. 

This topic is not only a perfect opener to every conversation at the beginning but also gives you information about the environment around you. No one is going to laugh at you for 'stupid questions', because they know that you are new in town. Moreover they will try to help and guide you. 

In case you have days where no one of your new contacts does have time to drink or eat something together, I nevertheless recommend to go out and explore the area by yourself. This will not only help you to find the next supermarket but also will help yourself to really feel a home. You will start recognizing some spots that are somehow special for you and this will be the first step of really arriving. Furthermore this knowledge gives you the chance to participate more in conversations between locals and also invite people to your familiar places. All this can be very helpful for further steps as I'll describe in further posts.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Seeking for new shores - Leaving the comfort zone

How to sucessully move to a another place and establish a new social environment - Introduction 


Hey there, how are you? Do you want to drink coffee with me and tell me something about you?

No? Ok this is not really surprising, since we don't know each other and probably live in complete different places. But would you agree if you would already know me? What if I would be a longtime friend? Probably yes, if you have time within your tight schedule for the day we could go to the coffee shop next door and share the latest rumors about Tom and Kim. So why are you acting so different in the same situation? Because we are used to and we try to maximize the profit for the time we spend. In the moment a stranger is asking, you will automatically check if it's worth it to talk to this person and spend time with him or her. If you are single you will probably tempt to be more open for such occasions, if your opposite is attractive. In most of the other case you will not if it's a stranger. In the case of a friend you want to spend time with him or her to maintain and improve your relationship - so it's also going to contribute to your well-being.

But why am I telling you this?

Because this is the situation you will face as soon as you leave your hometown and move to another place. Everyone there will be a stranger and you will be a stranger for everyone! Even if your old friendly aunt Amy lives there, she will only be one of thousands of persons living there and probably not having many interests in common with you. This can also apply to a friend or cousin you know there. In addition to that, it's very unlikely that unknown people will invite you to their friends or home, unless you are very attractive and they have their own plans in mind. But this is something different and should not be discussed here.

So is it then possible to become happy at the new place and is it worth it?

Well absolutely! But you also need to know that this will imply hard work and at the end is up to you and the decisions you make and a bit of luck. The first and most important thing you need to know before you pack your bags is that you are right now, while packing your stuff, leaving your comfort zone. You are about to leave the place you have been since a long time may since you have been born. Think about it! It's a huge change and a major decision for your future life and this understanding is fundamental no matter what the reasons for this step are. Those can be endless, better chances to find a job, studying abroad, a great internship or just the curiosity to discover new ways of living in a sunny state. The situation will be always the same but as you will learn in my further posts the circumstances will be a bit different for each depending on what you will do there. Despite this will be hard in the beginning you get a chance to learn more about the world out there, about other people and the most important about yourself. This is the reason why it's definitly worth it to face the challenge! I'll try to help you with this by writing about different aspects and strategies that might help you.

The things we love

Decide between familiarity and redesign

One of the most important things for us in live is the place where we eat, sleep and recover from the long working day - it's this mythical place called home.

This place is also for most of the people out there their favorite spot, it doesn't matter which culture or country you come from but it is still the most important place. It often contains and shows lots of memories and all the things we love. We spend a lot of time in setting up everything and customize it like we want it. But when we move somewhere else we can and have to start all over.

So why can? And why have to? Well this is kind of self explaining, we can take all the stuff we already have and just bring it to another place or we can use this opportunity to get rid of some old useless things we don't use anymore. But even if you choose to keep everything, things won't be the same. Simply for the reason of a different architecture of your new home. It will be almost impossible to arrange everything in the same order as in the past. Hence you will notice a difference. So there are this options: you can try to reinvent yourself or keep everything, but give the things a new order and priority.

No matter how you decide it will have an impact on how you feel at the new place. So everyone needs to be clear about on what they want. Basically you have to ask yourself:

  • Do I want to take a part of my old live with me?
  • Can I afford it to reinvent myself?
  • Is it better to leave the past behind? 

Based on that, you will have a place where you can retreat and feel recreation with the help of your memories or you will find a place you need to work on by using your creativeness to reinvent it. This place, no matter how you design it will be the headquarter for your new live in another city. Don't underestimate this aspect!

About the Autor

Hi, my name is Andrés and I want to invite you!

No kidding I want to invite you to learn more about the challenges you face and the opportunities you receive when you move away from your hometown or even if you decide to move to another country. I experienced within my family, my friends and by myself that this step can be very challenging but also rewarding in so many aspects. 

So who are you Andrés?

I'm 28 years old and living in Munich, Germany, but as you might guess I wasn't born in this town not even in this country. I was born in Colombia, South America and moved to Germany when I was a child to the city of Bamberg, some years later I moved to Nuernberg and few years ago I moved to Munich. So every time I experienced huge or little differences between the places but faced often similar questions. How do I find certain places in the city, how do I get a flat, where can I buy groceries and most important how can I find new people who suit to me? Over the time I figured out that this doesn't only affect me, and it's not my own weakness, no everybody who decides to move to another city finds himself in more or less the same situation. I also figured out that it's a process and every stage have its own problems. Further I saw people doing better and others worse finding their way at the new location. Especially big cities attract many people from elsewhere to find a job or to study. London, Paris, Berlin or Munich for example are just some of those cities, which attract many, due to 'better' conditions. The city of Munich for example is expecting 15.4% more people from 2013 to 2030 coming from elsewhere to live here. Most of them will manage to successfully pass all challenges and build there a new live, some will may fail. This can be financially but also have a social reason. Homesickness, the lack of appreciation or loneliness just to name some.

With this blog I want to share the observations and experiences I made over the years and give you tips, approaches and strategies how to avoid unlovely and lonely moments and ways to reinvent yourself. 

Please feel free at any moment to join the conversation!