Unfamiliar Territories and How to Feel at Home

As a student, there comes a time in your life when you are ready to leave the nest and start afresh. You move to an unfamiliar land, determined to make a mark, explore, experience, and take in everything the country has to offer. This change comes with expectations, a little fear, and a lot of excitement. Shifting your life and building a home away from home can also be accompanied by various challenges. A new country brings with it new people, new languages, and new cultures, which can prove to be daunting if they are dramatically different from that of your home country.

When in India keep your mind open, your spirits high & be prepared to have the time of your life.
- Anonymous

On arrival, you may bank on your innate ability to socialise and learn, to help you make friends, learn the local language, properly understand the workings of this new place, right off the bat. However, owing to the diversity across the world, you may find yourself feeling a ‘culture shock ’.This is when the country you move to has a culture that’s so unlike your own, that coping with this stark difference gets demanding, to say the least. Always remember this is a phase, and with time, it will get easier. One of the biggest upsides to a change so massive is the push it gives you to grow, accomplish what you set out to, and create memories that last a lifetime.

While a new place brings its own set of challenges, they are fairly simple to cope with. Let’s show you the little things you can do to take control of this uncertainty in unfamiliar territory, and turn it into the positive, wholesome experience you crave.

Research before you move

Every country has its own culture and in most places, this also varies as you move along different states. Before shifting to a new environment, make sure to research the different cultural practices, expectations, and etiquettes. Try to learn the basics and Indian way of greeting, acclimatise yourself with the DOs and DON’Ts to make the process of settling in a smoother journey.

Learn the ABCs of the national language

Communication is key to adjusting to any new environment and knowing the language helps in adapting better. Knowing the basics is extremely essential to get around. Language is key for the littlest things like asking locals for directions or finding a suitable place for your next meal. Brush up on greetings, basic questions, and conversational hooks. Locals in most places enjoy teaching someone new their way of talking, and continuing to learn the language post-arrival will also help you make friends! Like French is popular in Canada, Spanish in Argentina, and Hindi in India, identify your new home’s language and get started.

Don’t fret if you feel homesick

Feeling homesick and missing your family, friends, and the life you have taken a detour from normal when you move. Acknowledge that this is an emotion most people in your position go through, and getting through it is definitely possible. Don’t give up, pack up, and move back. Instead, allow yourself to experience a whole new world, with eagerness and excitement. Keeping little souvenirs like photos of friends and family, trinkets, memory boxes, and anything that reminds you of home helps beat this feeling. Make your new home comforting, warm, and welcoming because that’s what you will come back to every day, for a fair amount of time.

Keep in touch

While you’re adapting to a foreign land, it’s important to remember your roots. Constantly call, check up on, and keep in touch with your friends and family back home. Ask them about their lives, tell them about the issues you’re facing, all the new things you’re experiencing, and all the interesting people you’ve encountered. Make them as much a part of your life now, as they were before. Make the distance feel lesser and the bond stronger.kly and what can be made with limited ingredients. You strive to be more resourceful and devise your own ways to squeeze in your study life, social life and personal life. You even learn new languages that can help you in getting your work done with the help of locals. So, by the end of your campus and hostel life, you are a social butterfly, a home cook, a language pro and a manager - rolled into one!

Take a chance and step out

Making new friends is always a challenge no matter where you go. But they play an extremely important role in helping you feel comfortable in a foreign environment. Humans are social animals, and so they’re more than willing to welcome someone into their home, tell them their stories, and show them around. Explore and understand your surroundings, make this journey simple and fulfilling. Push through what may seem scary, walk around the streets, speak to new people, and open yourself up to a world of wonder.

Beat the blues

It’s normal to feel socially anxious when you see and interact with new people. It’s perfectly acceptable to take some time to open up gradually. Meeting a large group of locals at once might be hard to manoeuvre through. Start with baby steps. Set up meetings outside your classroom, with smaller groups, or individuals. This will seem less intimidating, and help you solidify relationships, slowly, but surely. Always remember to take some time off for yourself if it starts to feel too overwhelming. Now go ahead, take your roomie to a coffee shop, or your friend for a stroll, keep an open mind, and prepare yourself for new experiences.

Find your Comfort Food

No matter where you’re from, you can most certainly get a taste of your hometown in Indian restaurants. Several restaurant chains across the country serve delicious international cuisine that will remind you of home with their warm, comforting food. Carter’s Blue prides itself in recreating authentic Lebanese, Portuguese, and spicy African dishes that can be found in Nando’s chains, Mia Cucina and numerous other chains that serve rich, delicious Italian food. It’s completely fine to find comfort in the cuisine of your nation, and observe and recognise these differences, but make sure to not shut yourself off from giving new experiences a shot.

When you’ve made the decision to move away from home and embark on an adventure in unfamiliar territories, remember to allow yourself to take in everything it has to offer. Keep your mind open, your expectations realistic, your spirits high, and prepare for the time of your life!

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