By Dermound Becker
Special to InternationalMovers.com
Moving within the same city or town in your own country is hard enough, but it involves an international relocation, the difficulties can be far more complex. If you are moving from an English-speaking country to another, some of the problems of the new location will be minimized, but moving to an foreign language country – and even a country that does not even use the English alphabet – is probably one of the hardest things to. Here are some tips how to adjust to your new life abroad.
Learn the language. When moving internationally, it is imperative that you are able to communicate, at least at a very basic level, with those around you, so the first thing you should do is enroll in a language course. These are often found through the embassy of your home country in the foreign location; or through advertisements for private lessons found on the internet or local English language newspapers. It is always a good idea to start learning the language even before you move abroad. Studying the language of the country in a classroom will bring you into contact with other people in the same boat as yourself and is therefore a great way to meet new people.
Visit the embassy. You will always find that expats from their home country will stick together, so make sure to visit your home embassy when you first move. These expat groups will get together to celebrate your country’s national holidays, organize sports events and are a wonderful source of information on where to get certain items or where to go to sort out problems. After all, they have been in the foreign country for some time and generally know the ropes. It is also comforting to be able to speak to people of a similar background and in your own language, so make every effort to locate them.
Learn the culture. Learning the social mores and niceties of your new country is essential, as you would really not like insult someone simply because of a lack of knowledge. For instance, if you are living in Russia and are invited to dinner at some new friends for the first time, you have to know that you cannot take an even number of flowers as a gift. This is simply because in Russia an even number of flowers denotes mourning. The V for Victory sign so commonly used in America is extremely insulting to many other nations of the world – even in England, for example – if it is done with the palm of the hand facing towards one’s body. Likewise, the well loved and well ‘thumbs up’ sign is considered a rude gesture in India. The more common social rules like taking one’s shoes off before going into a home in Japan or places of worship in Muslim countries are better known, but it is of utmost importance to learn what is and what is not acceptable in your host country.