Beating culture shock
One of the major things that you might encounter when moving overseas is a feeling of culture shock. It’s completely normal, in fact, it should be expected.
No matter where you move to, there will be subtle differences that may not even enter your head when you are visiting the place on holiday, but when you find yourself and all of your belongings in this new place, these small differences become glaringly obvious and unfortunately, they can get you down.
How do you know that you are suffering from culture shock? Well, perhaps you feel disorientated, confused and unable to get your bearings? Maybe you are frustrated at the language barrier and instead of blaming yourself; you blame the locals, your partner, and your family members – basically anyone that you can vent your frustrations at.
Culture shock is something that people experience on different levels and in order to combat it, you need to address it. Here are a few handy ways that you can tackle the problem when moving abroad.Recognise it
Realistically, you know what you are dealing with when you move. You know that there will be cultural differences, that you might not understand the sense of humour straight away and that you are going to have difficulty finding your way around. If you can, try to enjoy this. See the excitement in getting to know your new home and your new neighbours and try and see the humour in the fact that you might encounter difficulties on the way.Share your woes
You aren’t the first person who has moved to a new country and found it a hard process. There will be people close at hand who were once in the same boat and went through exactly the same experiences. Try and get to know other expats through sports teams, social clubs and local bars and restaurants. They will be able to regale their own experiences and put your mind at rest that things will get better and that you will settle in. The internet is also an invaluable resource for this too – there are forums where people air their woes and offer advice. Be sure to check them out.Allow yourself a bit of alone time
There is no shame in giving yourself time to slowly adapt. There is no rush. Remember that you chose to emigrate so get out and explore the things that made you want to move there in the first place. Look for restaurants that serve food that reminds you of home or indulge yourself with a theatre that plays British movies. Find places where you feel comfortable and hang out there until you feel brave enough to venture further afield.Understanding
The only long-term fix to culture shock is to gain some understanding of the culture that is “shocking” you because at the root of it all is a lack of knowledge. Read up on the history and traditions of your new home; pay a visit to the important landmarks and locations and simply sit back and observe. Gradually you will gain confidence to interact with locals, try out your language skills, and sample the foods that were initially so alien to you. After a short while, you will come to know and love the things that once put you on edge. Remember, culture shock is a necessary part of adaption to new circumstances and some people even believe that if you don’t experience it, then you are not properly adapting to your new situation. Take your time and try your best to enjoy it!
For more information about moving abroad, collect The Overseas Guides Company’s free ‘Emigration Guide’ by clicking here.
On a final note, if you are about to emigrate make sure you use a currency exchange specialist, such as Smart Currency Exchange, to transfer your pounds into your new local currency. Smart consistently offers better exchange rates than banks, saving you money, as well as a more efficient service. For more information on this, visit the Currency zone or download their free guide by clicking here.
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