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By Thiago Silva

So you’ve arrived. After months of preparation, interviews, and a long-haul flight, you are ready to explore your host country and its culture. While everything will look and sound exotic, soon enough, this will be the place you call home for the next one, two, or three years. But what exactly does it mean to feel “right at home”?

Different people might have different definitions of “home”. To some, home is where your friends and family are; to others, it’s where you’ve decided to set down some roots. For teachers living and teaching overseas, home can simply be the place where you currently live, where your (physical) heart is.

So what if when you got home today your couch was no longer there, or maybe your favourite blanket had disappeared all of a sudden? When you start off in a new country one of the first things you will be doing is setting up your home, the place where you will want to come back to at the end of the day, and this place has to say “home” to you. Otherwise it’s just like a hotel room and you will be longing for home every day of your stay abroad.

Start off by bringing something with you from your “old” home. It doesn’t have to be your favourite recliner or a 50” screen TV, but a small item like a stuffed animal or a jewelry box could do the trick. Pictures of loved ones and your favourite tunes will also help you settle in to your new home and make it a more comfortable place.

Once you have all your special personal tokens, it’s time to arrange your apartment to your liking. If placed in a furnished apartment, don’t be afraid to rearrange the furniture so it suits your needs. If you have to buy your own furniture, you may consider looking for used items since you won’t be living in the apartment for a long time. Check with other teachers at your school, as someone might be going home and selling a lot of household items cheaply. The Teach Away Community page is a good place to start, as many teachers are active on the page.

Whatever your destination, make sure that once you arrive, you make an effort to think of your new surroundings as “home”.

Thiago Silva is the Teach Away blogger.

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