Beginning life in anew country is an exciting time for expats. But eventually routine sets in — something termed “three year syndrome” by one expat — and you need a hobby to maintain the exciting and fulfilling life you crave. Hobbies provide interest and enjoyment, open you up to new experiences, and introduce you to new people. Moreover, continuing the hobbies you had back in your home country is essential for mental wellbeing and warding off homesickness.
Choosing a hobby
Try out different hobbies until you find one you love. If you’re a musician, practice regularly or join a local band. If you love the great outdoors, get your kit together and spend a night under the stars – a fantastic way to connect with your new country. If you love art and theater, schedule regular trips to local galleries, museums, and performances. If you love painting, buy new supplies and get creative. Commit to learning the language and take classes at the local college. Even taking out a gym membership or attending a fitness class is a constructive way to spend your free time and meet new people. If you already had a hobby back home, pick it up again in your new country.
Befriend the locals
While it’s easier to interact with other expats, also step out of your comfort zone and integrate with the local community. Whether your hobby is cooking, sports, or reading, join a local class, team, or club. Befriending locals will give you a more authentic experience of the country and introduce you to places you may not had found otherwise. You’ll also improve your language skills, which plays a big part in feeling at home in a foreign country. Once you’ve established a local group of friends, expat life will be even more fulfilling.
Having a hobby is important for a balanced life — especially for expats who experience stressful situations. Local and expat clubs are friendly, welcoming, and comprised of all kinds of people, so there’s no need to be nervous about fitting in. Think of finding a hobby another part of your integration — you just have to get out there and try new things.