Adjust to Moving to a Big City
Edited by Batkingnz, Anonymous, Eng, Graeme and 2 others
Moving to a big city can be a shock, especially when coming from a really small town or even a rural lifestyle. It's not just the sheer size that you have to deal with when you relocated to a larger city. There are things like the increased cost of living, integrating with different cultures and staying sane in unfamiliar surroundings.
If you're making the move, or even just thinking about it, make sure you check out our guide to adjusting when moving to a big city.
The most stressful times and largest adjustment period, will come when you first move in and get settled in your new environment. Read our tips and suggestions below to take the initial edge off of things.
- 1Finding your way around.If you've lived in the same place your whole life, or even if you've moved between small and medium towns or cities, you probably didn't have a problem finding your way around. In cities like Los Angeles, New York, London, Sydney etc., knowing your way around is important not only so you won't get lost, but also for your safety. Here's what you can do to make the process less painful:Advertisement
- Buy a map. You can buy a paper map booklet, or if you have a smartphone, make use of the built in mapping software. Make sure you're always carrying some form of map when you're out in an unfamiliar city. Also, sitting down for a couple of hours and trying to get a general sense of direction and familiarizing yourself with your surroundings will be massively helpful. You could do this with your maps, smartphone, Tablet, or even on a computer using pages like Google Maps to check out your surroundings with satellite, and in some locations, street level imagery.
- Take a tour. If you're in a city that has any kind of tourism industry, book yourself on a city tour. Something as simple and inexpensive as a chartered bus tour around different landmarks and attractions will help you to familiarize yourself with your new home. Knowing a variety of places can also give you points of reference if you're ever lost or trying to find someplace where you need to be.
- Talk with family or friends living in your new city. If you know people in your new city, talk and meet with them to ask questions and get used to your new home. Ask for advice on getting around, areas to stay away from, nice places to shop, where to eat, etc.
Most people associate culture shock with moving to a different country, but even if you're moving to a big city within your own country you will notice things are different, even down to the ways that people talk.
- 1Language.If you're moving to a different country, it's a good idea to know even the most basic phrases and words in the local language.
- Even in countries where English is an official language, there will be taxi drivers, bank staff, food staff, etc., with whom you may not be able to effectively communicate.
- Try and make friends who you can practice wit,h or you can even take lessons online through audio recordings, or with a paid tutor face to face. Even a one hour lesson each week with daily revision will give you the words and phrases you need to communicate basic ideas and instructions.
- Learn the local slang and colloquialisms. Even within your own country, there can be different words for common items and activities, so make sure you quickly get accustomed to the local flavor of language.
- 2Etiquette.Learn the etiquette and social practices for where you will be living. This will not only make others more accepting of you, but it will make you feel more at home too.Advertisement
- 1The cost of living will be higher in a big city, so keep your finances in check if you want to survive.If you don't have work yet, make sure that you have enough savings to manage for at least four to six months or more.
- 2Find an apartment or room to rent that you can afford, even if you're not working yet.Don't worry if it's not your ideal place; it will be used as a base while you get everything set up.
- 3Again, if you have family or friends in the city, talk to them and find out things like how much are they paying for groceries, utilities, and even things like the cost of parking or public transport in the city.You need to take all of these into account when planning your budget.
- 4Interim Work.Even if you haven't landed the perfect job yet, taking on temporary work can help you stay on your feet financially while you're looking for regular work. Things like waiting tables, bar tending and general jobs in services and hospitality are a good way to make money, and they will also help you to meet new people and get used to city life more easily.
If you're moving a lot of items like furniture and personal belongings to your new home, it's best to arrange for professional movers to do this for you. Not only will it take the work out of moving everything yourself, but it will take the stress out of packing, finding your way there and unloading, which is especially difficult if you will be living in a multistory building. If you have a lot of belongings, but no permanent place to stay, consider getting everything put in storage. Selling your items can be tempting, but you might miss those little memories of home when you find your house or apartment in the future.
Making Yourself At Home
Ninety percent of adjusting to the big city is getting there and finding a place to live. Once you have a permanent residence, things will naturally start to fall into place. Keep up with learning the language if necessary, but aside from that, the tips below will let you know what to keep in mind to maintain happiness in a big city.
- 1Socialize, network, and make friends.The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. City life can be extremely hectic, leaving you either working, sleeping or traveling throughout most of the week. This type of lifestyle can leave you feeling drained, isolated and, in some extreme cases, can lead to depression, so it's especially important to make friends to spend time with on your weekends or downtime.Advertisement
- 2Keep in touch with family back home.It sounds like an obvious one but it's something that's easily overlooked by most people. With software like Skype, Viber, WeChat and even just the regular telephone, there's really no reason not to stay in touch with friends and family back home. Just being able to talk to someone from your hometown can give you a little "psychological rest" from city life.
- 3Explore your city.After the initial finding your way around period, start to explore some places you haven't been to before. Eat at a new restaurant on a different side of town. Although it can feel like you're surrounded by walls and cement, there's as much to explore in a city as there is in the great outdoors, and doing so will make you more comfortable and appreciative of your surroundings.
- 4Get out of the city when you can.This might sound strange, considering this article is to help you adjust to the big city, but it's actually beneficial to get out of the concrete jungle when you can. Take a day trip somewhere near, find a beach, or a camping spot for yourself, you and your partner or with a group of friends. This can give you the kind of break you need to re-energize, and it's especially important for people who have come from rural or low density suburban surroundings. If you can't get out of the city, make sure to spend time in parks, reserves or other relaxing retreats you can find in the city.Advertisement
Tips, Tricks & Warnings
- There's no special secret to adjusting. Aside from using the tips above, just remember to stay positive about things. Focusing on missing your hometown or staying negative about city life will stop you from integrating and enjoying what a city has to offer.
Questions and Answers
Moving to a big city - maybe it's a job problem?
I have just recently moved to Bangkok, where I am teaching English...but reading the tips on how to adjust to a city - don't apply to me really I actually am quite happy to live in such a great city - I think it's more of a job problem...I've only been working there a week and I don't know what to make of it, but maybe I am being a bit hasty.
Moving to a big city could bring about mixed emotions for different people. It could be an overwhelming feeling of both excitement and fear. The degree of adjustment varies from one person to another. Some people can adjust fairly easily at a quicker span of time while there are others who find it difficult to adjust to a new environment such as when moving to a much bigger city that one is used to. There will always be adjustments in all aspects - physically, psychologically, socially, emotionally, financially - but it is how you effectively cope with all of these that matters in the long run. If you feel that you are somewhat not satisfied or motivated enough with the current job that you have then maybe you need more. You are right - 1 week of working there is not enough to make drastic conclusions or decisions. You are just starting to adjust to your new work environment. Everything and everyone basically is new to you so just learn and grow with it. It is really impressive that you are well-adjusted emotionally because moving to a big city seems to be a positive experience outright. You just need to get exposed to variety of experiences and way of life in the big city to get the hang of it. You just need to ensure that you are safe when doing so especially because you are new in your location. It is also recommended to move into a neighborhood where you have some friends or relatives that you can go to in cases of emergency or to become your guide in getting around the new city.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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Recent edits by: Lynn, Graeme, Eng