The First Moments after Moving to a New Country


  1. JEssica says:

    I felt like I had to just keep moving forward, taking small steps when we first left Canada. In a lot of ways, I didn’t feel ready – but I don’t think I ever could have. I just made myself go to the airport, and get on the plane, and somehow, almost involuntarily, I got there.

    It’s so true that those first few weeks are the most difficult, but also the most thrilling. It gets easier once you start to figure out how to do the everyday stuff, but a little bit of the mysteriousness of the new country is gone too.

  2. makis giokas says:

    This was very interesting to read. I’m actually gonna be moving next month and I feel like i can relate perfectly. Thanks for this post Alana. You’re right about the small steps!

  3. I think it’s hard whether you go just over the channel (like me) or you go to the other side of the world to somewhere like Thailand. It’s true about taking it one step at a time but I think the hardest is when you come out of that oh-my-gosh-exciting-new-place and start settling in and then you start missing your friends and start feeling like you should really be getting used to it by now… we’ve been in the South of France two months now and it’s starting to get a bit harder now when I guess we’re over the honeymoon period with our new country. Did you find that?

    • Alana Morgan says:

      It actually took a really long time for my ‘honeymoon’ period to end…but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t annoyed with things. Now, even after 2 years, I still don’t have the social group or network here that I do in Seattle. It’s just different and other things end up filling those holes, like being able to visit new places or making new connections about the culture.

      That said, a slump after your initial move and settling in seems totally understandable – it’s probably the first time you’ve been able to take breath for months and after all the planning and packing and moving and adjusting to the new place it might feel like, ‘Well, now what…?’. I bet you come out of it pretty soon!

  4. michelle says:

    I find the first few weeks in a new place are the most salient in my memory; like, i remember thailand the way i knew it in those first few weeks differently than the thailand i came to know in the following eleven months. once the adrenaline wears off, you become more comfortable (good) but can also become less observant and appreciative (bad?)

  5. michelle says:

    Haha alana, our thumbnail photos are like mirror images of each other

  6. Great post. Having relocated to CHina this past July, I empathize so hardcore with the process you’ve described above. even now, having been here almost four months, I still experience those moments of serious pride at having accomplished the tiniest things–like paying my electric bill with no knowledge of the language, or of finally being able to order a single dish at a restaurant.

    I think what was most surprising about the move was that it *hasn’t* been an endless instagram-worthy adventure. Those moments happen, sure, but the overwhelm, the amount of work involved, the emotional ups and downs, etc. have been much bigger factors than I anticipated. Super rewarding, for sure, but like you said, definitely not just a vacation!

  7. Rae says:

    i loved reading this post as I had A really similar experience when I moved abroad to study from the UK TO THE uS. I was absolutely fine for the journey from London to Chicago, managed the 2 hours on a bus and a trip to walmart for my bedding, slept well, then woke up the next morning and just burst into tears for about 10-15 minutes! I never felt more homesick than that moment and the rest of the year was incredible but that feeling of “what on earth am I doing here?” Was just awful.

  8. Kathy Nunn says:

    Moving to a new country can be hard… especially at first. It does take a while to adapt, I guess I was lucky as I moved from the UK to Australia, the language wasn’t an issue. It did take me a while to get used to the climate though even though I had visited a few times on holiday, it’s not the same! Definitely make sure to visit the place you are moving to at different times of the year so you can get a real feel for the weather and what goes on in the seasons, how busy places are etc. Don’t get down if you cannot adapt fast, these things take time, it is normal to feel nervous and home sick.

  9. Alexandria says:

    Hi there! Love the blog! Quick question that hasn’t been very clear for me: when you first arrived to start your TEFL course, what type of visa did you arrive on? Was it a regular Tourist Visa?

    • Alana Morgan says:

      Hi Alexandria – I came in on a non-immigrant B visa that was organized through the TEFL school as I was going to start teaching right after I finished the course. That was over 7 years ago now and the visa situation has definitely changed and gotten stricter for everyone so I’m not sure what’s available. It would be best to talk to the programs you’re interested in and see what they offer.

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