Settling In to a New Town or City

on September 6, 2013

No matter what the situation, moving to a new town or city can be hard. Whether you’re just going 50 miles or 5,000, moving is considered to be one of the three most stressful life events alongside taking a new job and the passing of a loved one. Friends and loved ones, support systems too, all of these have been left behind. It’s easy to get homesick.

You owe it to yourself to make a home of your new town or city. Settling-in, finding things you can connect with, and things you love, is often a key to success in your new home. Ironically, embracing your new city is often just the thing to soften the pain of leaving home.

How can you find your place in a new place?

Think about your interests. Do you like to meet new people? Do you like to travel? Are you adventurous? Do you love the sports, or the arts? Your interests are they key to building a new life!

For example, I love the arts. From literature to photography, I’m a dilettante of the highest degree. When I moved from California to South Korea, I was often very lonely and bored. I knew no one, and I had few friends.

Then, two things happened.

First, one cold December night, unable to sit still in my tiny apartment, I went out to the movies. Carefully I walked across the ice and snow to the nearest bus stop, then I took the Number 530 downtown. Getting off at Lotte Cinema, next to a very out-of-place McDonald’s, I walked inside and fell in love! I was right at home, even if I couldn’t read or understand anything except the concessions menu. I had found a place to call my own, 8,000 miles from home, a place that sold pizza in an ice cream cone!

Not long after, I discovered the Jinju Book Club, a book club for English-speakers in our little city of Jinju. Though I can be very shy, I took a chance and went to a meeting on an icy Sunday night. I knew I was in the right place when I met Todd. In that moment, I went from being all-alone, all-the-time, to having a best friend with whom I could share the joys and terrors of expat living!

These two things made all the difference for me. I settled-in. Little Jinju became my home-away-from-home.

Remember: your interests are the keys to finding new friends, to discovering new places. Whether you’re 50 miles from home or 5,000, be sure to bring a positive attitude and a willingness to explore. Settle-in, and let your home-away-from-home find you!


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