Moving to a new city is an exciting chance to restart your life. It can lead to opportunities that you would never come across in your hometown. Many people consider moving to find better conditions for work, weather, lifestyle and even dating. Some just need change.
Since my first big move to New York City, I have lived in Brazil, Canada, Spain and Vietnam. Each destination had its own challenges but all were life-changing experiences.
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Whether you are moving to a city just a bit away from home or a completely new country, these five tips can make your transition easier.
Join Forums for New Arrivals
Online forums for people moving to a new location can provide invaluable information about finding accommodation, getting a phone plan, opening a bank account, searching for jobs and immigration for those moving abroad.
You can find these groups by searching on Facebook. Another free option is Reddit’s expat subreddits such as r/IWantOut. There are also expat websites like InterNations, which offers free basic membership with the option to upgrade (for a fee).
Look for communities like “American Expats in Paris.” Even if you are a U.S. resident moving to another city in the U.S., they can still be very helpful. Also, groups that relate to your profession, ethnicity, religion or lifestyle like “Latinas in Tech — Silicon Valley” or “Dallas Vegans and Vegetarian” are great resources.
Rent a Short-Term Accommodation for the First Month
The best advice that I can give anyone moving to a new city is to rent short-term accommodation for the first month. This gives you a chance to become familiar with your new city and time to find a new job, before making a commitment. In Vancouver, British Columbia, I rented through Airbnb for my first month and then ended up extending directly with the owner at a much lower price.
Other options include searching “sublets and temporary” on Craigslist or “short term” on Gumtree for the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or Singapore. In Spain, the popular site for short-term rentals is Idealista which is how I found my apartment in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain.
You might also be able to find short-term accommodation through local real estate agents, which is a great option if you don’t speak the local language. In Vietnam, I found a monthly rental through an agent with no finder’s fee.
The online forums you join will be very helpful in determining the best ways to find short-term accommodation in your new city.
Start Searching for a New Job
Once you have updated your CV and LinkedIn profile, I recommend meeting with recruiting agencies even if you aren’t looking for contract work. This will give you an opportunity to brush up on your interview skills, gain expert feedback on your CV and ask questions about the job market.
Find out the best places to look for jobs in your industry, including job websites. Fully utilize your LinkedIn profile, checking to see what connections you might already have in your new city. Join relevant groups and reach out to companies you are interested in working with.
In some cities, recruitment agencies are the best way for new arrivals to find work. Both in New York City and Vancouver, I found work at major firms through recruiters. After a couple months of working in Vancouver, the company offered me a permanent position and to pay the break fee on the contract with the recruiter.
Go to Networking Events and Meetups
Events provide a wonderful opportunity to make connections that could lead to a new job and/or friendship. In addition to your online forums and LinkedIn, you can find local events through Meetup. Search for free networking events or groups that relate to your industry such as “User Group Meeting Scrum Master Clinic” for “Agile NYC.”
Take your business cards and aim to make at least one meaningful connection per event.
Enjoy the New Life You’ve Made for Yourself
After using your newfound network to secure a job and transition to a long-term apartment, you can start to add some more fun to your life.
Join sports teams or hobby groups for activities you love or to learn a new skill. Use online forums, Meetup or couch surfing to meet new people.
I have found that different approaches work for different places, and sometimes it can take a combination to reach success. Starting again in a new city might have challenges but the unique and fulfilling experiences you have will be more than worth it.
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