connect, grow & thrive.

Advice for newcomers

It happens over and over again, I meet people who have moved here to join their partner, been here for a few weeks and are so down because they haven’t had any job interviews and feel like they are losing their sense of self-worth. My advice is to SLOW DOWN and BE KIND TO YOURSELF. I know I shouldn’t write in capitals but this advice is too important to miss.

SLOW DOWN. Give yourself time to arrive. You are not settled in just because you have unpacked your suitcase and put your furniture in the right place in your new home. Moving to a new place invariably requires an adjustment. First of all you need to get your bearings. Find your place in this city, work out which neighbourhood you like, which bookstore you want to hang out in, which café, which shops etc.. this will help you get a sense of feeling at home. Meet people, I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s doable, strike up a conversation if you hear someone speaking English, join a social media group for locals or pop by the LiLi Centre for instant networking.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Your body may be here and you are excited about taking your relationship with your partner to the next level, but you have most probably left a lot of things behind that meant a lot to you. It is okay to mourn this, be it your career, your family, your friends, all of these parts of your life need to take on a new shape. In a way you are in mourning of your former life and you need to let go of that before you are ready to take on this new chapter of your life. In my experience this is the single hardest hurdle to overcome. Accept that unless you are incredibly lucky you will not be resuming your career on the same level as before, neither will you have the same social life as before. You are truly starting over and pretty much everything has to be started over from scratch.

See this as a chance, an opportunity for personal growth. Maybe you want to change the way your career was going? Maybe you want to learn new skills? This new chapter has the potential to be the best thing of your life, but it is up to you to make it so.

LEARN THE LANGUAGE, really it makes a difference. Yes, the Swiss are in majority multilingual, and yes, the German you learn is not necessarily the one you will hear in the street but don’t give up. Understanding the local language is opening a door into the culture of this place.

In short, moving here is so much more than hopping onto a plane and unpacking whatever possessions you have brought with you. Moving to a new country is starting a new chapter of your life and to do so takes time and perseverance, but the rewards can be wonderful. Be patient and kind to yourself: you are worth it.

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Living in Luzern organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

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