Even though most countries are multi-cultural today, culture shock is a real phenomenon. People in different places tend to have different languages, beliefs, eating habits, taste in music, tradition, customs, and values.
Every country has its own culture. You may experience a contemporary culture in the US and a much conservative culture in China.
Once you move to a foreign land you are subjected to unfamiliarity around you. Things are no more what they used to be back home. It can be bewildering to do simple things.
This situation when you are disoriented and trying to adapt to a new environment is when you will experience culture shock!
What is Culture Shock?
When you relocate to another country, you may often feel disoriented, vulnerable and anxious in unfamiliar surroundings. You may also get frustrated as the social norms you were used to are no more relevant. This struggle to adapt to a new environment is called a culture shock.
How can you overcome it?
Learn about the new place.
Try to quickly read up about the new place you shifted to online on blogs, magazines, newspapers and books etc. You can start to adapt to the new place this way.
Get familiar with your neighborhood
Once you unpack, start exploring nearby areas, Look for places where you can spend your evenings meeting new people. Interact with them, this will expose you to the local community. Through locals, you can know more about the place such as history, festivals, events etc.
Also, look for places where you can buy daily household goods, where you can have breakfast, do your laundry, take a haircut etc. this will help you settle in.
Learn the local language
Perhaps the most important thing to do when you relocate is to learn the local language and its accent. Get a translation book. Learn the basic phrases eg. Learn how to ask directions, communicate with street vendors, ask for help etc. Doing this will help you come closer to the locals even become friends with them.
Make your space at home like the one before
Decorate and furnish your home in such a way that it reminds you of your older place. Light up your place that way. If you’re into reading, then have a book shelf built the same way as you did. All these things will make you less homesick.
Push yourself to make new friends
If you have local friends, then nothing like it. You should try to see the place through their eyes. They can also easily answer all the questions you have about their culture and might share some more insights too.
Engage in a routine
Spend your time doing something productive. Make it a routine. Take a course or join a club. Go swimming, play tennis or join music or art class. This is again a great way to meet new people with common interests and make friends.
Join a Club
This is a great way to find people of the same interest. Once you join the club a meetup can be easily be arranged where like-minded people can engage and get along with each other. You'll find all sorts of clubs like a book club, trekking club, etc. Look out for meetups in and near your city.
Join the expat community
This is probably the first thing an expat should do to reunite with others who are going through or have gone through a similar situation. Although, meeting people from the same country may go against you embracing the new culture. But, if you're really frustrated with this major change, then you should go ahead meeting them.
These are a few ways to overcome culture shock.
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