‘Don’t fear change – embrace it!’. Moving abroad can be daunting, and you often feel like you need all the help you can get! So, Student Ambassador Mpho is here, sharing  her 3 top tips for settling into a new country.

Moving to a new country, much alone a new continent, may be difficult. I mean, you’re leaving your familiar homeland to travel somewhere where you’ll have to learn the culture, language, shops, brands, and so on… Today, I’d want to calm your anxieties by offering some suggestions that helped me settle in. 

1. Made friends before moving 

My institution has an app that listed all of the incoming international students from across the world. I made an effort to reach out to students from my home country as well as people enrolled in the same program as myself. In this way, if I had questions or concerns about something, I could talk to someone who is most likely going through the same thing. It also meant that I already knew some people here, so I wouldn’t be lonely when I arrived.  

Friends I met on the school app and our local friend. (photo: Mpho Taole)

2. Befriend a local 

It is ESSENTIAL to have a local acquaintance! I must admit that finding local individuals was simple for me because I lived in a student house, but for others who are not so lucky, joining your school’s societies and clubs would undoubtedly help. Your local friends will not only inform you about the interesting things to see in the city, but they will also show you non-tourist attractions and invite you to entertaining locations. 

More from Elizabeth’s Fort. (photo: Mpho)

3. Get lost 

Honestly! Getting lost in the city is the greatest way to learn about it. I used to purposefully get lost in the city, simply wandering about and not knowing where I was headed. I knew I’d find my way back eventually. If everything else fails, I could use Google Maps or ask someone in the neighbourhood. During these treks, everything appeared huge and far off, but as I became more familiar with the city, I realised how near everything is. 

Elizabeth’s Fort: One of the places I found while exploring the city. (photo: Mpho)


I hope these few tips will be helpful and you will be courageous enough to step into the new! And in the words of Anthony J. Dangelo I say to you, “Don’t fear change – embrace it!”. 

Mpho is studying Food Business and Innovation at University College Cork .