Settling Into A New Country: What You Should Not Do

Nigerians like to show themselves everywhere they find themselves. This is a good thing but there are some things you shouldn’t do when trying to settle into a new country. It is an exciting and life-changing experience that improves your life in so many ways but it can also be challenging to settle into a new country. A lot of people especially concerned family and friends always have tons of advice for you on the things you should do as soon as you arrive, but not so much on what you should not do. Avoiding common pitfalls can help ease your transition and ensure you integrate into your new environment as soon as possible. In this article, we’ll explore some of the things you should avoid when settling into a new country.

10 Things You Should Not Do As A New Immigrant

  1. Neglecting research
  2. Isolating yourself
  3. Not learning the language
  4. Comparing everything to Nigeria
  5. Ignoring laws and regulations
  6. Having no financial plan
  7. Neglecting healthcare and  insurance
  8. Adapting too quickly
  9. Showing off
  10. Disrespecting their culture

Neglecting research

This looks simple but one of the most common mistakes people going to a new country make is neglecting to research and understand the country and local culture. It is easy to just concentrate on your plans and not bother checking out what the country is like. In this case, google is your friend. Cultural norms and values differ from one place to another. When you don’t understand these differences, it can lead to misunderstandings and unintended disrespect. Prevention is better than cure, so take time to learn about the customs, traditions, and etiquette of your host country. Try understanding their social norms, greetings, and appropriate behavior in different settings even if you think you already know them. You might be shocked at what you’ll discover.

Isolating Yourself

Moving to a new country can be overwhelming, and it’s natural to feel a bit out of your comfort zone. However, isolating yourself and only spending time with people you know can hinder how fast you’re able to get comfortable and adapt. Make efforts to connect and engage with new people. Building relationships with people from your host country is the fastest way to learn more about their culture, language, and way of life, and it can be incredibly rewarding on a personal level. 

Not Learning the Language

Language is not just a means of communication, it is also a powerful tool for integration. While many countries have diverse populations and you might have people who speak your native languages from Nigeria, learning the local language of your new country can significantly enhance your experience. It’s nothing deep, do it for fun and take language classes, and practice with native speakers. It is an opportunity to become bilingual or multilingual. This doesn’t only help with communication, but it also helps you adapt easily and improves your growth generally.

Comparing Everything to Nigeria

To be honest, it’s natural to draw comparisons between Nigeria and any other country you find yourself. But it’s off to constantly express preferences for how things are done back home. It can come across as insensitive or disrespectful. Avoid making negative comments about your host country or insisting that things were better back home. Find the unique aspects of your new environment and focus on appreciating them, approach differences with an open mind. It’s a  new and different place, it’s never going to be the same as Nigeria.

Ignoring Laws and Regulations

Every country has its own set of laws and regulations, and you should familiarize yourself with them. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and breaking rules can have serious consequences, including legal trouble or deportation. Every culture, different people, different laws. Don’t assume that because it is not an offense in Nigeria, it applies everywhere. Try to understand the legal system, immigration requirements, and any specific rules that may apply to foreigners in the country you are in.

Having No Financial Plan

Money is a common source of stress for people in a new country. It is so easy to get carried away and abandon sticking to a budget because there will be a lot of new things, products, and experiences you want to try out. Avoid the temptation to overspend during your initial excitement. Create a budget, monitor your expenses, save, and plan for the long term. It’s also important to understand the local currency, banking system, and taxation to ensure you comply with financial regulations. Currencies don’t carry the same value and with the unstable exchange rate, your naira might be a lot smaller in value than you anticipated

Neglecting Healthcare and Insurance

Medical emergencies are one of such events that we cannot completely plan for. Healthcare systems and insurance requirements vary from one country to another. Do not make the mistake of neglecting your health or being without proper insurance coverage. You might want to sort out other bills first because you are not sick yet and you think it’s not as important. Don’t forget that it is a new environment and you don’t know how your body will adjust and react to the changes. It is a good plan to familiarize yourself with the healthcare options available in your host country and ensure you have adequate health insurance to protect yourself in case of illness or injury.

Adapting Too Quickly

If you had relocated from Benin to Lagos in Nigeria, adapting wouldn’t be so easy. Imagine a different country entirely. Don’t rush it or expect everything to fall into place immediately. Adapting to a new country is a process that takes time. Be patient with yourself and allow for a period of adjustment. Building a new life abroad is a journey that involves both highs and lows, and it’s important to give yourself the space to grow and adapt at your own pace. Don’t try to prove anything to anyone.

Showing Off

Most people believe when you move to other countries, especially from Nigeria, you automatically have a better life. Well, it can be true but it is not immediate. In a bid to prove that you have japaed, it is easy to start showing off and doing things above your capacity. Don’t flaunt any money, possessions, or achievements to prove a point. This behaviour can be seen as arrogant and insensitive and it can lead to a wrong perception of you. Approach your new life with humility and a willingness to blend in with the community you are in rather than drawing attention to yourself through extravagant displays.

Disrespecting The Culture of Your Host Country

Disrespecting people’s culture involves actions or behaviors that show disregard or insensitivity towards their customs, traditions, or values. This includes behaviors like mocking local traditions, making derogatory comments about cultural practices, or engaging in activities that are considered offensive. Remember that culture is the way of life of a people. If you are not careful, it can strain your relationships, hinder your integration, and potentially lead to social isolation or backlash from the community. Be open-minded, and show respect for people’s opinions and preferences even when you don’t agree.


Everybody wants to japa but staying in a new country after japaing is not so easy. That doesn’t have to stop you, however, it’s essential to be mindful of the common mistakes that can hinder you from settling in. Know that different rules apply to different places. Research and ask questions and you can make your transition smoother and more enjoyable. Adapting to a new country is a journey, and it’s the experiences along the way that change us and the perceptions we have.

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