You’ve applied to your dream job at an amazing company. You blast through the interviews. You get your offer. You sign the dotted line.
The only thing left is to pack up your life and relocate. Totally lost?
We’ve got you covered. Relocating for FREE NOW is something many colleagues have done, so we asked them what their top tips would be to help your relocation go as smoothly as possible. From learning a new language, finding a flat, to making friends, we share our top tips on how to rock the relocation rollercoaster!
- Talk to your colleagues
Your colleagues are a goldmine of helpful information: many have either gone through the same relocation struggles as you or they have are from the country you have moved to, so know all about the intricacies of the local tax systems or council registration processes. When Rohith (Backend Engineer) and his wife moved from Bamberg to Hamburg, his colleagues were more than willing to help him out — “When we were looking for a flat, I had no idea what a ‘Schufa’ was or why it was needed. My colleagues were so helpful in explaining this to me and recommended websites and forums where we could search for flats. I would not have not known where to start otherwise.”
Why not invite your new team out for a coffee before you start? You can get to know your future work buddies in a relaxed setting whilst hearing the low-down on your new city; from flat hunting to tackling all of the forms from the local authorities to the best brunch spots in town to where to find the best coffee- your colleagues are likely already the subject matter experts.
2. Learn the local language
Even if English is the common working language at your company, it will do wonders if you can learn at least a few handy phrases for when you land.
When Leonardi (originally from Rome) moved from Munich to Barcelona, learning the lingo was a top priority for him “Even though it is difficult, learning the local language is the only way to really understand people and to feel integrated in the culture.”
At FREE NOW, our colleagues come from over 70 different nationalities so our Language Tandem Club is a huge hit for all of the eager language learners here. Brush up your Spanish? Learn German?
At such an international company, it is so important that all new colleagues have the opportunity to feel more at home in the city in which they are learning to speak the local language is definitely a good first step!
3. Prioritize having fun!
When you relocate for a new job, make sure that you find time to make friends and find things to do in your free time. Is hockey your thing? Join a local team! Do you enjoy cooking? Try a local cooking class! When Ivan (Engineering Lead Passenger Tribe) moved from Brazil to Germany, he found that is own hobbies helped him to make new friends- “I like football and reading, so when I moved to Germany 1990, I just carried on doing what I enjoyed. This became my entry point into German culture, as I met people who enjoyed the same things as I did. This helped me to feel settled and to achieve a good work-life balance. Almost thirty years later, I couldn’t be happier in Hamburg!”
Being happy is a very serious matter for us at FREE NOW: from cooking clubs to after work cocktails, quarterly team events, company parties, we encourage everyone to enjoy coming to work and to invest time in creating good memories with the people they work alongside.
4. Stay open-minded
The first few months are always exciting- a new job, new home, new friends- however, remember that you won’t feel new in your city forever, so make the most of your new start and be prepared for when your new, exciting life starts to feel normal. Leonardi knows this feeling well and explains that you should- “…expect a honeymoon phase, where you initially discover all of the great things in your new city that you may not have your country. Then, when you start to feel more settled, you may go through the opposite process whereby you also discover some things in your new city that you don’t like or things which you miss from back home.” Any expat will tell you that this is perfectly normal and that the highs of life abroad come hand in hand with the lows of homesickness and culture shock. Sure, we want to enjoy the good times but how can we combat the bad?
“The secret is to remain balanced; appreciate that your home country and new culture both have pros and cons and that there is no such thing as a perfect place to live, so enjoy the good of the new country and perhaps challenge your perspective on what you view as negative.”
Staying open-minded is key in this case- try to remain positive if the going gets tough and remember that you are not alone. From day one at FREE NOW, you are assigned a Buddy, who will accompany you through your first day and can be a good point of contact if you are facing such issues. Often, your Buddy has been with the company for a while, so they can offer you good advice on best to settle into your new working environment.
5. Be yourself
Relocating can be stressful and you feel a little odd, to begin with when you are getting used to this new culture. Having relocated twice in Europe, Leonardo knows that staying true to yourself throughout the process is crucial for your relocation to be successful- “At the end of the day, the person that matters the most is you. Try to adapt to the new culture but be yourself, try to be authentic and don’t forget where you come from and what defines you.”
It is so important to be yourself in every aspect of your life, so don’t be afraid to turn up to work to be your best self and be ready to accept everyone else too.
Considering whether a new office location might be something for you? Aside from our Hamburg HQ, tech hubs in Berlin, Barcelona, and Hamburg, we have open positions in locations all over Europe. Check them out here.