Moving to a new city is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Getting the lay of the land, especially if you don't have contacts in the city, is intimidating. From figuring out your transportation options to learning where the most affordable grocery store is, you have many things to tackle to get comfortable in your new space. Here are some tips that may make the transition just a little easier.
1. Join a Group or Organization
Do you have a favorite hobby? Is there a charitable cause you’re passionate about? Find the local group, and join. If you don’t have a favorite hobby or charity, find out about groups or clubs in your city that sound interesting, and join. You’ll be able to connect with people who have similar interests, and making local contacts will help you start learning your city.
2. Say “Yes”
When an opportunity presents itself, say, “yes.” Whether it’s coffee with a new acquaintance or a volunteer opportunity through the group you joined, the more times you can get out into the community and explore its offerings, the more connected you will feel. You only have to say, “yes,” the first time you’re invited, but be willing to step out and experience life in the community.
3. Walk the Streets
While public transportation or your own vehicle are convenient ways to get around the city, they aren’t always the best way to learn its layout. Grab a map, or your GPS on your phone, and start walking. Of course, keep safety and walkability in mind, but if you can, take a walk for your next errand. This will give you the best possible feel for the layout and vibe of the city, and also a more realistic idea of how far away various features are. It will also give you more opportunities to meet the people around you.
4. Find “Your” Spot
Find a place where you can go to hang out when your home or apartment starts to feel confining. This may be a coffee shop, library, or local restaurant, depending on your tastes. When you need to get out, go to your spot. Soon you will become a “regular,” people will start looking for you, and you just might make some friends!
Most importantly, give yourself time. It takes time to get comfortable in a new city, and that’s OK. If you use these tips, you will make some friends, and soon be able to enjoy life in your new community.