Moving abroad – How to cope with the cultural differences!

Moving abroad is a big challenge that everyone experiences individually. In the beginning, everything is new – new apartment, new environment, new acquaintances, even new food and drink. If you move out in an exotic country, you feel like you’re on vacation and everything looks perfect. But then you enter a new phase, which is often very painful for many emigrants. The reasons for this disillusionment are different – language barriers, loneliness, homesickness, etc. It is not impossible to often burst into tears without a clear reason for it. Above all, you should know that this condition is quite normal. If you are aware of this situation, you can overcome the difficult moments of the crisis much faster.


How do you recognize that you are suffering from a culture shock?

The first symptoms may appear after a few weeks or even months. If a person is more sociable, this moment will probably come a little later. How can one recognize that one suffers from a culture shock?

Think too often about your hometown and your friends or relatives, make phone calls almost every day, or use every free minute for Skype connection, which is a clear signal that you have strong homesickness. In addition, there is a feeling of uncertainty in everyday life. The feeling of loneliness and strangeness are also a symptom of suffering from a culture shock.

It would be best if you are prepared for this moment in advance. In this way, you can neutralize, or at least minimize many negative emotions. Here are some useful tips, because every beginning is hard and exciting at the same time.

Before the move

In addition to the preparations and organizations for the move, you should also make their own preparation. It is advisable that you are well informed before the move about the culture of the destination country. In this way, you can avoid any difficulties during the first days of your stay.

Religions, traditions, and customs are different all over the world, and if you are moving to an exotic country, it is very important that you know more about it in advance. Countries from different continents have peculiarities regarding men and women that a foreigner should respect.

  • In the United Arab Emirates, for example, it is not allowed to photograph the airport, government buildings, military installations, soldiers and local women. At women queues, only women are allowed.
  • For example, punctuality is not very important in Morocco. Here is the saying: “Your Central Europeans have the clocks, we have the time” For everything you should always keep calm because that almost always happens not in the given time.
  • In Lebanon, it is common for people to greet each other by shaking hands. So the men are allowed to greet men by shaking hands, the women, on the contrary, better renounce it.
  • In Japan, employees are never late. Do not wear too much jewelry or too colorful clothing when working. In addition, you should be well maintained, for example, has no holes in the socks.
  • In India, it is customary to belch loudly after dinner. Even spitting out and blowing out your nose is not rude.


How can you overcome the culture shock?

  1. Have enough patience. If you move abroad, you should be patient enough, because time heals all wounds. You should not expect everything to go smoothly at the beginning. To feel comfortable in the new environment sometimes takes two-three months, but sometimes even one year is not enough.
  2. Always compare is not a good idea. It’s a better option than to compare everything with things from your home country. You have to accept the differences and not always criticize, because that brings only negative emotional disturbances.
  3. Learning the foreign language: If possible, start learning the foreign language before you move. If that is not possible, it would be good if you know at least English. This will probably help you to get to know the locals faster because the English language is spread all over the world.
  4. Traveling: If possible, make a trip to the host country before the move. So you get a better idea of the country and can see in detail what you possibly need there.
  5. Ask friends or acquaintances: It would be best if you have friends or just acquaintances in the destination country. They give you information that you can not find anywhere. They can assist you in the hard moments and give advice on how to overcome the negative emotions more quickly.

You should realize that it is not a big problem if you are not 100% happy and also miss things or friends from home. But do not focus on the negative feelings, but leave enough room for the new emotions. Think about what you like about living abroad, what you get to know for a great new culture and the many new moments that are ahead of you.

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