New Year's resolutions for expats
I think we can all agree that 2021 has been a crazy year! Despite its numerous challenges, this year has hopefully taught us how to adapt and be more resilient in the face of adversity.
Resolutions are a great way of helping us reach our personal goals and keep us on track throughout the year. It's a great feeling come the following year to be able to tick everything off your list as achieved.
Here are some New Year's resolutions to help inspire expats in 2022.
Make more time for family and friends
Moving to a new country can be challenging for many reasons: homesickness, language barriers, adapting to a new climate...the list goes on! That's why it's so important to keep in touch with family and friends back home - your support network. Not only will it help you to feel more settled and supported, but it will also make them feel involved and a part of your new life away from home.
FaceTime is quick and easy and I love WhatsApp for sharing videos and photos of our adventures in South Africa.
Improve your culinary skills
This one is 100% on my list for 2022. Having only moved to Cape Town in September, and still feeling like a tourist, I'm guilty of eating out more than what I usually would back home. I can't wait to try my hand at local South African delicacies such as bobotie, bunny chow and malva pudding.
Improving your culinary skills is also the perfect excuse to invite your friends over for dinner. You could even cook a dish from home so they get an authentic taste of another country's cuisine. Despite the South African heat, I do miss cooking and eating a traditional Sunday roast dinner!
Make new friends (and even find a hobby)
Making friends in a new country has never been easier thanks to helpful apps and social networking sites such as Meetup and Facebook. By filtering events based on interests, you can meet up with likeminded individuals and hopefully form long-term connections. You could also try something new, such as a sport, and find a hobby at the same time. Be sure to check out expat-specific networking sites, like Internations and Expat.com, for events in your nearest city.
Learn a new language
When moving to a new country it's always recommended to try and learn the lingo, which will help immensely when it comes to integrating into the local culture.
Apps such as Duolingo and Babbel offer easy to follow courses that you can do in your own time, at your own pace. No one expects you to become fluent, but a few words or phrases here and there will not only help improve your language skills, but will go a long way when engaging with your neighbours.
Leave your comfort zone
There's so much to be gained in life when we step out of our comfort zones and embrace new experiences. Don't like the look of some of the local delicacies? Think paragliding looks far too scary? Try it. You may surprise yourself and actually enjoy it!
Connect with the community
Volunteering is not only a great way as an expat to meet new people, but it's also an amazing way to give back to the community. Sign up to local initiatives to help do your bit for the community and feel good in the process. There's nothing more rewarding than helping others. Unicef South Africa is a great starting place for those looking for available opportunities, as well as helpful volunteer resources.
Gain new skills
As new technology appears in the workforce, so does a need for relevant skills. With the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in greater numbers of people working more remotely, digital skills in particular are highly sought after. Learning new skills can not only result in greater knowledge, but it can set you apart from other candidates in the workplace when it comes to job roles and promotions.
I have resolved next year to work on my SEO and coding skills to help improve my blog. I also want to learn more about South African wine, and how to be self-sufficient from the land.