On a forum in which I participate we were talking recently about things to do to help you get “settled in” and comfy in your new country/city.
People were looking for some hard and fast rules. But as with most things, general guidelines are probably better.
If you are planning staying long term somewhere then I think what you might do depends a lot on the particular city and your comfort level with the culture.
I went about doing things very differently when I moved to Bangkok versus Taipei versus Riyadh versus Pusan, Korea versus Francistown Botswana.
Some essentials though are to make your home comfortable. Get Internet set up, TV, telephone – communication things organized, so you can communicate with friends and family.
Buy and organize your kitchen items so you can eat when and how you like. Same thing with bed linens, pillows – etc. The point being to make your home comfortable and to feel like home rather than to feel like a temporarily rented box.
Part of this will depend also on how introverted/extroverted you are. I am a bit quiet and shy until you know me, so I try to connect with groups that have similar interests. In Saudi Arabia it was a poker group. In Bangkok it was a book club. In Pusan it was a teachers group.
In one place I volunteered at an English language library. The library was an excellent way to meet people and it was easy to start conversations about what people were reading.
I’ve lived in five “foreign” countries for about two to ten years each and every one was super different even if in the same region of the world. Crime, ease of accessing the language, weather, culture and customs all will affect how you might go about adjusting.
Mostly – keep your eyes open, read community boards in places where expatriates gather (you WILL want to speak to people in your native language from time to time), volunteer if you can.
It really depends on how you wish to define your lifestyle.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Get your home nice and comfy as fast as you can. Establish communication links with family and friends. Volunteer and join up with local groups and organizations. Do those things and you’ll soon have your new home country/city humming along like a nice pair of old shoes . . .