Feelingwelcome after moving into your new Vancouver community
After relocating from abroad, once the moving truck drives off, the crew leaves, and the boxes have been emptied, you have officially turned the page on a new chapter in your life. It is surely intimidating to be among entirely new surroundings, so, for long distance movers, how does one feelwelcome and a sense of belonging in an unfamiliar place?
Depending on how old you are, the idea of a ‘welcome wagon’ may be a completely unfamiliar term. However, the sentiment of a community coming together to welcome new residents has remained — it’s just up to you to discover how it manifests in the present day.
Join local programs to meet like-minded people
The City of Vancouver has a great network of community centers. Programs are typically affordable and will give you chance to meet people that may have similar interests as you.
For teens and adults, group fitness classes like aerobics, aquacise, or yoga put you into a high-energy group setting where you’ll have an opportunity to socialize and meet people.
If you are more of an introverted person, and the idea of sweating it out in a sea of strangers is overwhelming, start with 1-on-1 interactions such as a private music lesson. Or, enroll in a class to learn a new language. This essentially has structured socialization through practicing the language with your peers.
For parents it’s almost the easiest: if you enroll your child in a community program (art class, dance lessons, swimming, etc), you’ve automatically found yourself among other parents to strike up a conversation with. It takes the pressure off of you because the focus is on your child– it’s simply an added bonus to bond with other parents on the side!
Feeling a sense of belonging starts with YOU: don’t be afraid to ask
If you’ve moved into an apartment complex, make it a goal to strike up a simple conversation with someone in passing at least once. You can start by asking them for the whereabouts of the best local coffee, or where the nearest park is. More often than not, the person you are talking to will be willing to share. You’re of course not obligated to carry on social relationships with your neighbours, but, simple conversations like these can make it feel like you’re not living in isolation among total strangers.
Other ways of interaction that will have you feeling like you’re part of the community include things like joining your condo board, a local MP or MLA office, a Rotary Club, or volunteering for your local food bank.
You can also venture online by searching your community’s name on Facebook (and feel free to like our page while you’re there!). Often you will find a group run by your community, or an interactive buy, sell, and swap hub for local classifieds.