Moving to Canberra, or any new city, IS a big deal.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it before, leaving your comfort zone for something new will always be a unique experience.
When I moved to Canberra I thought I knew it all. I had just spent the last few months living in England and just before then, in Dubai. I was seasoned, so how hard could Canberra be?
It was hard! There were highs and lows and everything in between. But eventually, things settled down.
So take it all in your stride and don’t forget to enjoy the ride.
What I found important was to get out there and meet new people. Filling up your social calendar with activities will make your first few months in any new city all kinds of nice. Admittedly, meeting people in Canberra is not easy. It’s also not impossible – you just need to work a little bit harder at it.
So try one or all of these suggestions and start building your Canberra network.
Your place of work is a good place to start. I met most of my friends at work and still keep in touch after we’ve moved on. So take the initiative and invite colleagues out for drinks or a movie. Don’t be dismayed if you don’t receive a positive response in the first instance; everyone is busy or distracted, so simply try again.
However, if you’ve come to Canberra as a grad, most of this will be taken off. Between activities organised by your grad team, SNoG (look it up), and grads themselves, your social calendar will fill up quite nicely.
Pick a charity close to your heart and sign up to be a volunteer. 21.1% of Canberra’s population volunteered in 2011 so chances are good that you will meet like-minded people with whom you will bond with. Plus, you’ll also be giving back to the community at the same time.
Learn a new skill
Sign up to learn a new skill – dance; a new language at Alliance Francaise or CIT; or how about cooking? Since moving to Canberra, I have done all this and more. So, so much more. Most places offering classes will also organise social outings for students. It’s great fun learning new skills and making friends at the same time. Plus, self-improvement, right?
Move into a share house
If moving to Canberra on your own, opt to live in a share house. Finding the right roomies will certainly help with building your social group. Invest in the process by checking out a few places and making sure you meet everyone living in the house. These people will soon become your family when you are away from your family, so you’ll want to enjoy their company. It also helps with keeping things pleasant.
Join a club or group
Sign up to a club or group that you are interested in. Meetup has a good number of groups to select from. Then there’s the movie club at ANU, the Canberra musicians club, or improv for those brave enough. Don’t forget, people love talking about things they are passionate about (hello!), so keep in the loop by asking around.
Most importantly, always have fun. Never mind if it is a bit difficult – enjoy yourself and the process. It might be scary, but remember that there are other good people out there also looking to make new friends. Build your social network, and moving to Canberra might be the best move you’ve made.