How to live in a new location

Residents Corner By Nira Kadakia, PharmD

Up until July 2017, I had spent my entire life in central Ohio, including college and pharmacy school. But living in a new place became an increasingly realistic possibility as I looked at residency programs in surrounding states and across the country.  When Match Day came, I learned I had matched to a program in Cincinnati, a few hours away from where I had called home for more than 25 years. 

I was excited for the opportunity to live in a new city, eat at new restaurants, and see new sights; however, at first, the unfamiliarity was overwhelming. My year spent in Cincinnati completing my PGY1 community-based pharmacy residency helped me realize a few tips for making the transition to a new place easier.

Reach out to your social network
If you are moving to a “new-to-you” place, you may know someone, or someone who knows someone, who is more familiar with the area. I have a few friends who grew up or currently live in Cincinnati, and they helped me immensely as I figured out where to live and what fun stuff there was to do in town. They encouraged me to try new things, too, like attending my first professional soccer game.

Do your research
Before I moved, I visited different web pages related to my new city. I followed local news stations, newspapers, and attractions on social media. My news feed populated with different happenings in the area. I compiled a list of activities I wanted to experience once I moved: festivals, sports events, fairs, and more. This was a great way to explore the area. 

Include co-workers and colleagues
My co-residents and I were all new to the city. We took this as an opportunity to not only get to know the area but also each other. We checked out different events together, as our schedules allowed, such as an outdoor music and light show throughout the downtown area. We also tried to get together every so often to try out new restaurants. Over the year, we ate our way around the city and built friendships with each other. Good friends and good food—I would say that’s a win–win!

Act like a tourist
I was lucky enough to have friends and family visit me throughout my residency year, and I used their visits as an excuse to play tourist. Because of this, I got to visit landmarks that were new to me and show off the city to my loved ones.

Get involved
Community service was an important aspect of my residency program. My co-residents and I all participated in outreach within the geographic areas we served. Volunteering at a food pantry and a free clinic helped me meet new people and feel more connected to my new community.

As a New Practitioner, it may take you a few geographic moves before you settle down into your long-term career. In fact, this past July, I began a fellowship in another new city, West Lafayette, IN. Moving to a new place is not easy, but treating it like an adventure can help you make the most of your time there.