Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain. To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.
4 months ago I left my home (London) to become an expat in Dubai. Moving abroad, whether you are teaching, studying, interning, volunteering or just travelling for an extended period of time, is complicated. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or in the private-jet-owning tax bracket. The experience can be thrilling, energising and eye-opening, but it can also be incredibly challenging in a number of ways that go far beyond learning to cope with a culture that doesn’t eat dinner until 10 pm.
Be a tourist
I moved to Dubai in August. I was stuck home for months not being able to step foot outside due to the crazy summer temperatures. So, anyone that is planning to move to a hot country, my biggest advice would be to move during cooler temperatures so you can get to know the city you have moved to straight away. Instead of being an expat be a tourist, spend your time exploring the city and visit tourist attractions. Slowly you’d be familiar with the area and you’d be able to pick the best places you like visiting and find favourite cafes.
Explore the country
Once you’re done with exploring the city make a bucket list to explore the country. Challenge yourself to see these exciting places before you leave!
Immerse yourself in the local culture
To make the best out of the location you are in, try new things. Trying new kinds of foods that they offer is a good way to start. It’s easy to eat from places that you have back home but trying out different cultural food will get you out of your comfort zone.
It’s easy for you to leave the old you behind to start a new life. It can be very hard to maintain your old habits, especially in Dubai as it’s a very party oriented city with many expats that have adapted to this lifestyle. But to feel less homesick keep up with your habits. Maintain your favourite activity or sport and don’t worry about missing out on the social life.
Keep a record of things that make you smile
Keep a journal where you can document all the positive experiences you have in your new location. This will remind you to be grateful and a reminder of the positive aspects of your new home.
Exercise is known to relieve stress. It helps the body feel good and releases powerful neurotransmitters into your brain to help your mood and manage stress.
Care for your body
Taking time to care for your body is an example way to help relieve stress. Not having proper nutrition and sleep can be stressful events for your body. Improper sleep and nutrition will not help when you are already experiencing stress associated with the change of being in a new place.
Send gifts back home
Staying connected with family and friends back home is very important, send them cultural gifts back home from your travels to share your experiences.
Get them out there
Convince your friends and family to visit you at your new location and explore the country with them. This way you can explore the country together and it’ll be less about what you miss back home and more about your adventures together.
Create a routine
Once you’re settled create a routine, this will help you be in control of your life and you’ll be less likely to feel homesick.
Keep your mind active
Make the most out of your time and keep yourself busy, why not learn a new language or skill?
Get out of your comfort zone
Do something that scares you as often as you can, this is one way to help reduce anxiety.
Make your new home your home
You won’t be able to bring your old home with you but you can make your new home feel homely. Spend a little time and money making your space a place you’re excited to come back to every day. Go out and decorate your house to your own taste and make it feel more like home.