Updated: Sep 4
Moving to an unfamiliar place can be an exciting adventure, but it can also trigger feelings of anxiety and apprehension. It's important to recognise that such emotions are valid and completely normal. After all, if moving within a country is a big undertaking, then moving internationally only serves to make those feelings even more distressing.
‘How do people order food?’
‘What does getting around look like?’
And of course:
‘How will I do this alone?’
Adjusting to a new environment, making new friends, and finding your place in a different culture can be overwhelming. The good news is that Phnom Penh is a bustling city full of expats and locals alike who are friendly and often willing to help make the confusion of relocation easier. Another great option is to pay for a relocation service.
Experiencing anxiety when moving to a new place is a natural response. Leaving behind familiar surroundings, friends, and routines can create feelings of uncertainty and discomfort. It's essential to acknowledge and accept these emotions rather than suppressing them. Being anxious about moving to a new place is absolutely normal, and everyone feels anxious when disembarking in an unfamiliar place. Acknowledging the validity of your feelings allows you to address the challenges of moving more effectively than if you try to pretend those feelings don’t exist at all.
One of the easiest ways to alleviate these emotions is to determine why you feel that way, and to address it at the root. For many people, the unknown is what makes travel so frightening. Doing it alone only exacerbates those feelings. Making new friends is one of the easiest ways to address the problem at the root. Numerous studies have highlighted the positive impact of socialisation on mental and physical well-being. Engaging in social activities and building relationships can help reduce stress, combat feelings of loneliness, and promote a sense of belonging.
According to research conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center, social connections contribute to better cognitive function, improved immune system function, and a reduced risk of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. It’s commonly acknowledged that it’s easier to make friends when you have a steady job or attend school. This is because it takes about 34 hours to really become friends with someone, which is easier with a routine. However, it doesn’t take 34 hours to become friendly, and often that’s all you need to start to feel at ease.
Phnom Penh, the bustling capital of Cambodia, offers a vibrant cultural scene that is rich in art and music. From traditional Cambodian performances to contemporary art exhibitions, the city provides ample opportunities to explore and appreciate various forms of artistic expression.
Engaging with the local art and music scene not only allows individuals to immerse themselves in the local culture but also provides an easy way to meet others. The city boasts a diverse expat community, making it easier for newcomers to connect with individuals from different backgrounds. Expatriate networking events, social clubs, and community organizations are excellent platforms for meeting like-minded individuals and establishing new friendships.
Additionally, participating in classes, workshops, or volunteering opportunities can make it easy to make friends whom you share hobbies with. By joining one of the many Facebook groups, you can find weekly art and yoga classes, as well as events centered around food or drink. There are even Khmer classes for those who want their hand at picking up a new language.
Remember, building a social support network takes time, and it's essential to be patient and open-minded throughout the process. There are plenty of other people in a similar position to you who are just as open to meeting new people as you are. Moving to a new city can be daunting, but by making the first step and exploring the diverse opportunities Phnom Penh has to offer, you’ll easily be able to navigate the challenges, forge connections, and create a sense of belonging in their new home.