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20 Tips to Feel At Home In a New Culture


Create the familiar...

One of the simplest ways to fit in someplace new is by frequenting the same shop every day. Take a common activity – such as buying the newspaper, or getting a cup of coffee. By doing this at the same café, or newsstand, the owner will eventually recognize you. The sense of being known lends to feeling at home.


Make your new place home...

Put something of personal importance in a visible place within your home. One of the fastest and easiest ways to make an apartment or house feel like yours is to place something you’re proud of – an award, a trophy, a favorite painting, etc – in a spot you pass by every day. Seeing it will remind you of an accomplishment, and is a visible sign of your presence.


Try new food...

I can’t tell you how many weird things I’ve eaten, almost as crazy as on “Survivor”! Trying new foods will endear you to new friends, especially if you’re invited to their home for dinner, and it will also make eating locally a lot easier for you.


Prepare for weather changes...

Moving from changing seasons to someplace that is always warm, or experiencing a reversal in seasons, can have a huge impact. Research the weather patterns of your host city. More important than wardrobe and appliances, you will need to learn what activities one does if there is a rainy season, for example, or get used to Christmas being sunny.


Be professional at work...

If you are relocating for a job, you may have to sit in a cube, rather than an office. Perhaps you’re used to participating in office gossip, and your new office culture doesn’t tolerate it. Criteria for promotion may be vastly different than what you’re accustomed to. Observe respected office behavior, ask if you can’t figure it out, and make sure you understand your new manager’s expectations. Your success depends on your ability to adapt to the local work style.


Take care of yourself...

Once in a while, pamper yourself! If this means a massage or facial, research the nearest and best spas. If it means a vacation, find out the local getaways you can take advantage of for a long weekend. You owe it to yourself to relax, and reward yourself throughout your transition!


Womens words about home...

Home is any four walls
that enclose the person.
(Helen Rowland, 1909)

A house is no home unless it contains food and fire
for the mind as well as for the body.
(Margaret Fuller, 1845)

Peace -- that was the other name for home.
(Kathleen Norris, 1931)

I had to leave home
so that I could find myself.
(Gloria Anzaldua, 1987)

There are homes you run from
and homes you run to.
(Laura Cunningham, 1989)

Learn more about Heather Markel at and visit her blog at where you’ll find tips, and videos about living in different cultures around the world.

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