Best way to settle into a new City

Emma Seton·14 October 2020·7 min read
Best way to settle into a new City
As the new academic term is underway, many students have moved away from home and relocated to embark on their studies at university. While you may feel that moving away to a new city is a big step outside of your comfort zone, it’s simply just the next chapter in your journey, and an experience worth embracing. You’ll have your eyes opened to new cultures, meet new people and discover new walks of life. Whether you’ve visited the city you’re moving to before, or if it’s a completely new experience, there are things that you can do to help yourself settle in.

Get organised:

First things first, make your immediate space feel welcoming and homely. Be sure to unpack within the first couple of days and begin to make a place in your room for all your belongings. Perhaps go out and buy some of your favourite things, whether you get some new candles or a poster for the wall, decorate your room in the way that you like it. Make this space your own. Moving into a new environment, can throw you off balance, so making your room feel like your own space and making it personal will help you to feel like you’ve developed a place of sanctuary that you can come home to and relax in.

Do your research:

Find out what the city has to offer you, a quick google can go a long way. If you love going to the theatre, research about local plays and productions, or if you enjoy a morning run, research where your nearest park is. Maybe the place you’ve moved to is famous for its history, its restaurants or its coffee houses. If so, research about where you might like to visit, whether it’s an art gallery or just a coffee shop in town, outline some places that you might like to see within the city. This is also a good time to research the transport links, local supermarkets and gym facilities. Understanding the spaces around you can help you feel more settled, and who knows, maybe your new home has some fascinating heritage that you didn’t know about. Get to know what the city can offer you, find out what’s around you and understand what there is to do in your new home.

Explore :

Once you’ve researched how to get about the city, the best way to really settle in is to go and be a tourist for a day. Whether you book yourself a walking tour, take a city cruise or even plan a route yourself, embrace the tourist life while you figure out what the city has to offer. Once you start getting familiar with the city and your immediate surroundings, you’ll no longer have to rely on google maps to get around. Knowing your way around can help you feel like you’ve established yourself within the city. Although it may take a while till you know your route completely, every time you take a trip into town or use the bus network you’ll become more at ease in your new environment. Exploring is a crucial way to get to know your new city, and if you can, try to visit new places every time you venture out.

Say yes to new experiences:

The best way to make new connections and build relationships with others is to say yes to the experiences and opportunities that come your way. Maybe a friend asked you to come for a drink, or you’ve been asked to join a local sports team, who knows where it could lead? Embrace the experiences your new city has to offer you. You never know, you might meet some likeminded people and meet some new friends along the way. Maybe even join a society, whether you’ve got an interest is sports or prefer to debate hot political topics, most universities have an array of societies for students to join and to meet new people at. Saying yes to new experiences doesn’t mean that you have to completely abandon your comfort zone, but it is a good way to expand your social circle and establish new connections within the city.


If you’re a student moving to a new area, you’re more than likely not alone in this. There will be an array of other first years going through the exact same thing. In this instance, social media is your best friend, use sites such as Facebook to connect with other likeminded people and begin to build a friendship before you’ve even moved to the city. There will be group chats for your university accommodation, for your course and more general forums for people in the same year. Using social media can help you to connect with new people in the same city and can be especially helpful given the current pandemic and increasing restrictions on social distancing. Finding people over social media and making connections will help you ease into your new student life.

Create a new tradition :

Whether you’re one for trying new things, or whether you enjoy the familiarity of your comfort zone, humans are creatures of habit and integral to making us feel at home, are the routines and rituals that we abide by. So, do something for yourself that gives you a new routine, ritual or tradition. Whether you visit your favourite coffeeshop every weekend, do your food shop on a certain day or simply meet a friend each week for a drink. Creating these routines will help you feel more settled and at home.

Plan things to look forward to:

Whether you buy yourself a new calendar or simply input things into your phone, having something to look forward to is a great way to help add some structure into your new life. Invite your friend up from outside of the city, or plan a visit home, maybe even plan a little getaway. Just because you’ve moved to a new city, doesn’t mean that you can never leave it, a little trip away often helps you to appreciate the things that you love about your new city and establish a sense of home. Even if the things that you plan are only small events, it’s always good to have something to look forward to.

Moving away is a big step for most students, but it’s important to remember that each city has its own history, its own unique personality, and is full of new experiences and new people. Moving to university is the new chapter in your life, do all you can to embrace it.