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Just arrived? Tips for settling in

There's no doubt that adjusting to life in a new country is a challenge and a steep learning curve for most people.


Moving to a different country can be very scary. Fear, anxiety and other negative feelings may approach you, but fear not, every migrant goes through this and it does get easier. By learning from others' experiences, you may be able to ease the pressure and clear up any unanswered questions.

Stages of settling in

Relocating to a new country is one of life's biggest experiences. Quite often, most people go through several emotional stages as they settle in and start a new life abroad.


Source: ResearchGate


Pre-arrival stage

Your bags are packed, your visa is sorted, and you've been preparing for months on end for the move. Amongst the anticipation, you're really excited and can't wait to start your life in a new environment. Feeling good is usually the emotional state one would experience during this stage, and fair enough! All the efforts leading up to this moment are finally paying off and you feel terrific.

Initial settlement stage

The plane doors open, you smell the crisp, fresh New Zealand air, and you take your first monumental step off that plane. You've finally arrived in New Zealand and have begun your journey as a new migrant. The first several months are often filled with joy, happiness and everything in between.

You've finally made it.

But somehow, as time and months go by, you start to get used to these feelings and you start noticing that some of the things you were used to at home are not necessarily the same as they are in New Zealand. Whether it be the change of environment, culture or lifestyle; there's something that's holding you back. During this time, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the changes you are going through, such as cultural shifts, which weigh down your happiness and cause you to worry a little bit. You start to question whether you've made the right decision for yourself (and your loved ones) and begin reflecting on your experiences so far.

Sometimes you will question whether you should go back to your old life or try to make your new one work.

This is completely normal.

It's normal to feel down (in a low mood) or homesick when you're settling into your new life in New Zealand.

Support from similar people

This is the time you will need support.

It is helpful to make friends with other new arrivals who you can share experiences with and talk about your challenges. Finding a counsellor can be very useful for more formal support if things don't go quite as planned.



Settled stage

During this stage, you start to feel more settled and comfortable in your new life. It's important to consider that some people will feel more settled sooner or later than others. Like with most things in your life, comparing your journey with others can often lead to self-doubt and damage the perception of your own self-worth.