When I first started this blog my mission was to support as many expats as possible with their moves, and give them some guidance and support to get them through this huge event in their lives. Only a couple of days ago when I was talking to a friend of mine who recently moved from Dubai to Paris, did I realise that I hadn’t addressed a very important subject that related to moving and being an expat. And that is how to make new friends, and deal with just being the ‘new girl/boy’.
Even for people who haven’t moved home from one country to another, we’ve all experienced being the ‘new kid’ at some point in our lives. And let’s be honest, for most of us, it was not fun. Being an expat, adding on top of being a new kid, you’re having to come to terms with a new home, a new city, and knowing no one in this new place. It’s pretty bewildering. I remember before I moved from London to Dubai I had never experienced being a new kid, and my first school here certainly did not make it easy to settle in. People ignored the new kids, made no effort to get to know them, and I was just completely lost and lonely. Over the course of the year, I made friends and learned my way around, but I would never want to re-live those first days of school.
And I realise that everyone stories may not be as bad as mine, or they may be even worse, but there’s still some advice that I can hopefully share with you. The first piece being, don’t forget who you are. I know this is the cheesy quote you always hear in different variations such as, ‘be true to yourself’ ‘be who you want to be’ but there’s a reason it’s so famous. These are truly words to follow. Moving is tough, I know it is. And sometimes all you want to do is fit in and seem normal. Sometimes that means letting your guard down and doing things you usually wouldn’t, or doing something completely against your morals just to fit in. But DON’T. Trust me on this, you don’t need to change who you are for anyone, or to fit in with anyone. And if you’re changing yourself then you’re probably not with the right crowd.
I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and through experience, staying true to myself and my morals has been the best decision I could have made. In the end, life will lead you in the right path. Make the decisions that you believe in, and everything else will work itself out. Another thing to keep in mind is that settling in takes time. You can’t just move and wake up the next morning expecting to feel like you’re at home. It takes time to get used to your new surroundings, but also for people to get to know you. When I was talking to my friend I remember saying that my second year, coming back after summer break felt amazing not to be new, and to see people I was friendly with in the halls which just made me feel like I belonged there, that’s only something that comes with time and patience.
When moving it’s also important to remember that people don’t define you, don’t worry too much about what people think. It’s practically impossible to make everyone in the world happy, and you’re better off just being yourself. Even though we shouldn’t do it, everyone is still guilty of making judgments without really knowing all the information. When you meet someone new, most people jump to conclusions before they even speak to them. First judgments don’t usually last, and if there’s someone who really has a problem with you, remember, there’s probably something they’re upset about, if they need to find something wrong with you. (I wrote about it a lot in this post)
Overall, I know moving can be really hard, especially with fitting in at a new school or workplace. Just remember it takes time, but you should just be true to yourself, and not worry about what others think. In the end, your life is for you to live, not for other people to determine. In the wise words of Bob Marley ‘Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright’. I really hoped that this managed to help some of you who have recently moved, and please share your thoughts in the comment section for others to also read! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions 🙂
See you next week,
Little Miss Expat
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