New to Lux? A few Tips to help you flourish

Photo by Carla Ammendola
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I moved to Luxembourg in August 2015, and the first weeks were jam packed with all the endless but necessary tasks you encounter when you move to a foreign country. I spent my days arranging my new life; I had to register at the Bierger-Center, open a bank account, find a home and arrange for utilities and insurance. Once the most stressful part of the move was finished, it was time to take a few deep breaths and ease into my new life in Luxembourg.

Say ‘yes’ to everything.

After the anxiety of a big relocation has passed, it’s not always easy to know what to do next. I recommend starting with the basics. Pretend you are ten years old and starting a new school. Ask questions. Say ‘yes’ to everything. Invite new friends over. Accept invitations, just make sure to follow the Lux etiquette of giving them an odd number of flowers. Here are some tips to help you with your new life in Lux:

1. Learn and use three magic words in Luxembourgish 

Moien      = Hello

Äddi        = Goodbye

Wëllkomm = Welcome

2. Introduce yourself to neighbours

Whenever you have the opportunity to say “Moien” to your neighbours take it! This is a great way to meet people quickly and absorb relevant information about your neighborhood while obtaining important tips about life in Luxembourg.

Participate in your “Fête des Voisins” (an annual neighbourhood block party), which the perfect occasion to make new friends.

If any foreign language in itself is daunting, don’t worry! Most Luxembourgers speak three languages fluently and over 430 million people in the world speak English, so chances are, whomever you are speaking to has a grasp of the basics. Everyone likes to talk about food and travel. Ask them what’s their favourite local restaurant or where they like to holiday.

3. Take the time to explore 

Take a walk around your neighbourhood to discover all the important places you’ll need. First focus on the places that are most important like the post office,  the nearest pharmacy and a local market. Then spend your free time getting to know your city even more; try different restaurants, or a new coffee shop each weekend. Luxembourg has so much to offer, so many hidden gems, so pretend you are a food critic or travel writer and embrace the new adventures!

Moving to a new country is all about reinvention and how you approach this challenge is key. Keep it fun. Don’t get discouraged. More than half the population are immigrants. You are not alone!

The tourist office offers fantastic tours! Passionate about architecture? City tour by bike? Whatever you fancy.

4. Take the time to scout out the city but don’t forget to tour the country

Whenever time allows, get lost into the 28 neighborhoods of Luxembourg City as you will always find something new. However, don’t forget to visit the rest of the Grand Duchy as well; you’ve got 998 square miles to cover! Find the road less traveled.  Embrace the uninhabited, undeveloped landscape. The Petit Suisse,  the Moselle region, the Land of the Red Rocks and the Ardennes are full of endless treasures. Take the time to read about the history of the Grand Duchy and its traditions and festivals. Don’t forget to celebrate The National Day on June 23.

5. Go local

Gastronomy is a key to helping you to discover your new home. The cuisine of Luxembourg is said to combine the artful subtlty of French cooking with the heartiness and larger portions more typical of German food. More recently, it has been inspired by the traditional dishes of Italian and Portuguese immigrants.

Try some local specialties like: “Gromperekichelchen” grated fried potatoes, “Friture” fried fish, “Rieslingspaschtéit” meat pies with Riesling, “Bouneschlupp”  a green bean and vegetable soup.

Try to buy products like cheese, milk, ham, sausage and food and vegetable in the weekly local markets. You’ll likely learn some new vocabulary while shopping and the local vendors make it fun to understand more about your new home.

Good luck on your new adventure and Wëllkomm!

 

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Carla Ammendola

Carla moved to Luxembourg from France in August 2015 and currently works for an international relocation company. She appreciates the diversity of Luxembourg as she grew up in the multicultural environment of Mexico City.

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