Moving to a new city is hard. Anyone who tells you differently either hasn’t done it or isn’t telling the truth. Moving to a new country is even harder. But it is also one of the coolest, most rewarding, life changing things you can do. That being said, there are a few easy ways to make your first couple days in a new country easier.
1. Don’t sleep.
Jet lag is real, and it sucks. But don’t worry, you won’t be jet lagged the first couple days, that usually comes about a week to ten days into your stay. You will be tired when you arrive though; traveling for that long, schlepping your bags through airports and streets, and being overwhelmed will exhaust anyone. The best way to help combat jet lag is to not sleep until an acceptable bed time (for me, this is anytime after 8PM) and then to get up at a reasonable time the next day (preferably before noon, I like to sleep.). This will help your body maintain a pattern of how long it generally rests and then is awake and make sure that you get on a fairly regular schedule almost immediately.
2. Don’t sit in your room alone.
Apart from just being depressing, isolating yourself at the start of your travels will only set the tone for the rest of your time abroad. Even if you know no one, get out and take a walk, explore your neighborhood, sit down at a cafe or pub for a drink. Take a book if you feel silly just sitting alone. Sitting alone in your room will only give you more time to think about the things you left behind without giving yourself a chance to see and experience the new things that lay ahead. That and it will make it a lot easier for you to fall asleep and ruin your perfect, new sleep schedule.
3. Don’t spend all of your time on social media or face timing your friends and family from home.
This is a sure fire way to make you homesick. It also stops you from getting out of your comfort zone and confronting a new culture. I’m sure the people you left behind are great, but the people on your program and in your internship could be equally cool. Why deny yourself the opportunity to find this out? Everyone I’ve ever met who has lived abroad will tell you the same thing. Some of the best friends they have ever made are people they met abroad. You are all going through the exact same things - leaving your comfort zone, entering a world where everything from ordering a sandwich to going to the doctors is new, and adapting to a new culture.
All of these things add up to be one of the same. Get out, explore. Don't be lame.