Not long after Molly Patterson tossed her cap in the air with her fellow Yale College Class of 2013 graduates, she found herself in a new and unfamiliar city far from the East Coast where she grew up.
Instead of returning home to Reston, Va., the 22-year-old had relocated to Houston for a chemical-engineering position at a large oil-and-gas company.
Though she worked with a real-estate agent through her employer’s staff-relocation service, Ms. Patterson also spoke with Houston natives and scoured real-estate sites likeZillow.com Z +0.22% and Trulia.com to get the lay of the land.
To meet people and begin to put down roots, she quickly joined a local weekly trivia-night group and signed up to audit a Chinese-language course at nearby Rice University.
Many of this spring’s college graduates will soon be off to take jobs in new cities. While finding a place to live might be first on a relocating grad’s to-do list, it’s just one of the many things he or she should be thinking about when beginning this next chapter in a new place.
Tap company resources. Some firms offer through a third party relocation-assistance services designed to help make your transition a smooth one—so ask what’s available through your company.
Your company’s relocation-services provider might link you with a local real-estate agent while your company covers brokers fees, as Ms. Patterson’s did, for example.
Or your company might allow you to mix and match services such as temporary housing, household-goods shipment or home-finding trips, in which the company pays for you to travel to your new locale and look at apartments or houses, says Eve Seib, president of OneSource Relocation, a relocation-management company in Atlanta.
Alternatively, your company might offer you a lump-sum relocation payment and leave you to your own devices, says Thomas Whitaker, a business-development professional at Odyssey Relocation in Salt Lake City. It’s important to budget with such an allowance and not underestimate moving costs, he cautions.
And keep in mind that you will likely have to sign a repayment agreement, meaning that if you leave the company within a set period, you’ll need to pay back all your relocation expenses plus tax, says Michael Nimer, chief operating officer of OneSource.
Work college contacts. Before you leave campus, check to see if there are any senior events for grads headed to your new region, Ms. Patterson suggests.
She attended a meetup for Southwest-bound graduates where she spotted an acquaintance. They made plans to live together in Houston, she says.
As you settle in in your new city, check out local alumni groups for your alma mater or fraternity or sorority, Ms. Patterson says. You’re likely to meet people who are more established in your city as well as fellow newcomers.
Make home social. Matt Green, a 23-year-old computer engineer also from Reston, moved to Palo Alto, Calif., soon after graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in December 2012.
Mr. Green says one of the best decisions he made was to rent a room in a house he found on Craigslist.com with 10 other young people. “The best way to assemble social circles is to find like-minded people and live with them,” he says. “If I had an apartment by myself, I probably wouldn’t have had the same opportunities to meet people.”
Also key to Mr. Green’s smooth adjustment to the area was his living close to work. Minimizing your commute is key, Mr. Green says, as you’re less likely to be social after work knowing there’s a long commute ahead of you.
Get involved. Ms. Patterson says she soon realized that social life after college would require more advance planning now that bumping into friends in the dining hall was no longer an option.
“In a new city, making friends takes more diligence,” she says, adding that serendipity no longer does the trick.
So in addition to the trivia group and Chinese-language class, she joined a sports league that organized weekly bowling nights or flag-football games. Such groups make it easy to meet and see new friends on a regular basis when you’re new to a city, she says.
You might also try meeting people through religious institutions or groups, as well as cultural organizations. And perhaps you’ll find that parents’ friends or relatives you haven’t seen for years happen to live nearby.
Make sure to be patient with yourself, says Ryan Watroba, director of relocation and business development at Coldwell Banker Prime Properties, an Albany, N.Y.-based real-estate brokerage firm. Getting settled, he cautions, is “going to take a little bit of time.”
Original Source: Wall Street Journal