Feeling Disconnected in a New Location?

How to Build a Strong Network in a Short Time

Gunnar Habitz
9 min readMay 22, 2018


Can you imagine how it feels not knowing anyone after moving to a new place? Even when being surrounded by people at a new workplace, it can hurt and provide a feeling of being alienated.

What sounds exciting for a business trip or vacations, can be a scary experience at least in the beginning. There is no safety net if anything goes wrong, no advice from friends or neighbours, and you can feel totally lost and alone. In addition, things can worsen when language or culture are different from your home and a weekend trip to the loved ones is out of reach.

Mobility and travel opportunities enable your dream of moving to another location. Relocations can happen between two jobs, when a company sends their own employees as expats to another country or when planning a new life with the hope of better conditions. For many of us who dream, a move to another state within the same country or onto another continent may become a nightmare of social isolation.

The experience in a new place really depends on the people around. However, building a local network requires strategic planning in advance, rather than waiting for the fallout of being lost to take place. I went through this exercise with the intention to move from the German speaking part of Switzerland to Sydney in Australia.

I would like to share with you my most significant takeaways from these moments in this article. Connecting with strangers is not just about learning how to exist in a new place, it is about learning how to live and thrive. The people I met were curious about my story and what brought me there, so I felt accepted and welcomed.

Here are my learnings and how I built a strong network in a reasonably short timeframe.

1. Local market research

First things first: I made a detailed analysis of Australia before I even booked the trip. This is surely easier within the same country, though moving to another state can also result in substantial differences. Start with macro-economic factors, typical consumer touchpoints like favourite shopping areas, researching the food options and studying current media topics all helped me build conversational…



Gunnar Habitz

Content Creator for Social Selling & LinkedIn, author of "Connect & Act", Leadership Mentor and Board Director. Writing here and on www.gunnarhabitz.com.au