Moving Abroad: How to Prepare for the Culture Shock
There are many reasons why a person would move abroad. Perhaps to take a job, maybe for family reasons or maybe just for a change in lifestyle. Whatever the reason, a move like that will most likely produce some culture shock. Getting acclimated to living in a culture that is very different than your own takes some real adjustments. Follow our tips to make your international moving situation a little easier.
Learn the language. While there will always be a few awkward moments when you are encountering a foreign language, they will be fewer if you take the time to at least try to learn the language. It can be difficult to do, but if you at least make the effort to learn the basic phrases, it will make things much easier to handle in your new country.
Learn everything you can about the country you are moving to. Start with the basics and research the details about the city you are moving to. You can get map books, travel guides, even an encyclopedia can help. Culture do's and don'ts can vary from one region of a country to another, so try to find information that is as specific to the area you are moving to as possible.
Search online. Virtually every country has its own website, so be sure to visit them daily to learn more information about your international destination. Find social networking sites for the city you are moving to. Join message boards or chat groups for that area. Ask people who live in the area you are moving to questions about themselves and the area. Who knows, you may even make new friends before you even move.
Locate local groups. Check to see if there are groups, festivals or communities in your area that you can visit before your move. This can be a lot of fun, and invaluable sources of information. Perhaps there is an international club you can join. You can learn about the customs, foods, and ceremonies that relate to the country that you are moving to. Ask questions; ask for recommendations as to things like restaurants, hotels, local sights you can visit when you get where you are going to.
Bring keepsakes from home. After you have packed your essentials, don't forget to have your international movers pack some keepsakes. These items such as scrapbooks, photo albums, small trinkets from home will keep you connected to your home and family. You should also stay in close contact with your friends and family via email, letters, photos and phone calls.
Give yourself time. Virtually everyone who moves internationally experiences some degree of culture shock. Don't get too worried if you have some adjustments to make. Just take your time and don't expect too much of yourself too quickly. Chances are good that soon enough you will be happy and having loads of fun in your new home.