How To Make A New City Feel Like Home

The Netherlands

This post was contributed by Sonia. 

Moving abroad soon? I’ve been there. Moving to a new city can feel overwhelming and – at times – lonely. There’s a bunch of bureaucratic papers that need to be done, sometimes the language can be hard to pick up, and you’ll have to make new friends. When I moved to Amsterdam some years ago, I was completely alone in a city I had only visited a couple of times. These tips are what saved my a$$ from the beginning!

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    Go explore

    Get lost in your new city. Take buses even if you don’t know where they’ll stop, walk until your legs are aching. This is the best part about moving to a new city – everything is shiny new, and you’ll be amazed at every corner!

    I would take random underground tunnels and find myself on the other side of the city. I would choose a stop with an appealing name and just explore the city from there.

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    When I first moved to Amsterdam, it took me months before I could find a room to call home. In the meantime, I was hopping from hostel to rented rooms and never organizing my belongings. I thought it was time-consuming to unpack and re-pack over and over. 

    Looking back, I would definitely make every room as comfy as I would make my own. Coming home to a warm space VS. a messy and unpacked one is a completely different feeling!

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    Create a routine

    In the beginning, everything is so different, you’ll become addicted to this feeling of new, new, new. This is an absolutely incredible phase but, at some point, you’ll need to develop a routine. 

    For example, after exploring every possible supermarket in your area, stick to just one. After a couple of times, you’ll find your way through it and you’ll know exactly where to find what you’re looking for. I found this routine extremely helpful, and the grocery store didn’t feel like a labyrinth anymore!

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    Say YES to everything

    Have you ever watched “YES Man?” Well, you should.

    And you should do the same too. Being new to a city means you literally have no excuse for saying “No” at all. 

    An old lady wants you to have tea with her? YES – why not.
    There’s a parade going on on the other side of the city? YES – go.
    Some randoms strangers are inviting you to a party? YES – sounds fun.
    After-party going on? YES – I’ll love it.
    Job interview the next day at 9 am? HELL YES – I’m in!

    Trust me, this is how you wrap your head around your new city and how you’ll make friends quickly!

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    Do the touristy stuff!

    This is part of the “say YES to everything” part and a non-negotiable.
    You can’t live in Amsterdam if you’ve never gone to the Van Gogh museum, taken a dozen canal cruises, and taken a stroll in the Red Light District (and many more things).

    Find the most popular attractions in the city and just have fun. This is a wonderful way to get to know the culture and to spend a day off.

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    Find your local go-to place

    When you’re done with the touristy attraction, it is time to find the quiet spot only locals know. This will be the place to go to when you want to relax, or when you’re meeting up with some friends or every time you feel like. The good part is that it won’t be loaded by tourists, but just local people. Perfect for any insider!

Last but not least:

Be patient

Adjusting to a new city takes time! Sometimes cultural barriers and language can be particularly harsh, and that’s why you should always be patient. 

It took me 6 months to finally find a balance and have everything under control. It might seem like a long time, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the meanwhile! I knew Amsterdam was my city from the moment I stepped on that cold, windy, and rainy land. Everything worked out just fine, and will surely for you too!


Meet Sonia: Sonia is an Italian travel blogger & content creator. She is passionate about slow & authentic travels, where she can deeply connect with local people and have a better understanding of their culture, traditions, and environment. While traveling to unique destinations, Sonia aims to connect with Deaf people and raise awareness about Sign language and Deaf Community. You can follow Sonia’s adventure & travels on IG. 

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