The concept of community becomes more important than ever when you are traveling/living abroad. While total integration is not really possible within the first few months (or ever), there are certain people and places that can definitely make you feel more at ease amidst new surroundings. I have attached a couple of mine:
One of the first things that I wanted to do upon my arrival in Dakar was find a running route. At home I run everyday, and before coming I was a little anxious as to whether or not I would be able to do the same here. It turns out that the neighborhood I live in, Ouakam, is right next to one of the longest roads in Dakar (Route de la Corniche) that literally borders the Atlantic Ocean. I have made it a habit to run around 6:30/7 most evenings after getting home from school, as the sun is setting then and it is much cooler. For the first couple of weeks I had to adjust to the unfamiliarity of where I was, and all of the car exhaust as I am not used to running right next to main roads, but now the ease of finding my way and knowing where I am going is really comforting. Every day I feel more and more acclimated to my surroundings, and the euphoria that accompanies running is something that makes me feel even more at home.