When you first move to a new country, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with excitement. There is so much to do, see and explore; you run at 100% and enjoy experiencing everything that destination offers.
However, it’s typical to have some negative feelings towards your new life as time goes on. You may feel disoriented, unfamiliar, and even homesick as you struggle to cope with the changes.
Below we are going to discuss some advice on how you can manage culture shock when moving abroad.
Want to learn more? Then let’s get started.
Organize yourself in advance
While you can’t always prevent yourself from experiencing culture shock, there are things you can do to lessen the stress of it. By being organized in advance, you can protect yourself and avoid certain sticky situations.
It’s best to start by investing in some travel health insurance, as healthcare can vary significantly from country to country. You also want to do some research into cultural expectations and traditions so that you know how to be respectful to locals.
Create a routine
There are many benefits to having a routine, but it’s even more advantageous when you’re overseas. Knowing what you are doing each day will help you maintain control over your life- something you may feel like you have lost.
That being said, you shouldn’t isolate yourself so much that you don’t have any freedom at all. During the weekends, try and get out of your comfort zone so that you’re still experiencing new and exciting things. It’s crucial to develop positive experiences before they all turn into bad memories.
Set personal goals
Speaking of trying different things, one great way to do this is by setting personal goals. It’s good to challenge yourself, and each step will help you become more familiar with your new environment.
For instance, one of your goals could be to speak to a stranger, and another could be to order your favorite meal in the local language. It may seem scary, but think of how great it will feel with each interaction. Barriers are meant to be broken.
Learn the language
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to manage culture shock when moving abroad is to learn the local language. You’ll feel much more comfortable if you can communicate effectively and won’t feel so anxious when out in public.
Start with simple common phrases and consider taking classes to improve your language skills further. There are also many great language apps that you can use to make the process more fun and interesting.
Have set healthy distractions
If you feel that you’re upset or distressed because of cultural differences, take a moment and find a way to distract yourself. You might try going on a walk, making a healthy home cooked meal, or even watching an episode of your favorite television show.
Sometimes, it takes something you love to help you see things from a different perspective. Not to mention you’ll be able to stay in touch with your usual self.
You may be tempted to stay inside your home when you’re feeling symptoms of culture shock, but socializing is really important. With new connections, you’re less likely to feel alone and will have someone to educate you on the different practices.
If you’re unsure of how to make friends, start by joining classes and groups. Social media is also a fantastic way to connect. Just make sure that you are being safe by following the advice mentioned here.
Communicate your feelings
Even if you’ve moved abroad by yourself, you are never alone. If you’re overwhelmed, reach out and talk with others about your feelings.
Skype with family back home, have a discussion with your new friends, or consider joining an expat group with people who are going through similar experiences. They may have strategies to help you adjust to your new surroundings.
Focus on the positives
Finally, the last tip to follow is to make sure that you focus on the positives as much as possible. While it may seem easy to think about all of the challenges, you have to remember why you decided to move abroad in the first place.
Whether it was for family, work or study, you have the opportunity to experience life in a different way and discover more about yourself in the process. Just think of all the great experiences that are out there waiting for you.
And that’s it! So while moving abroad can be overwhelming at first, it’s important to remember that you will be able to get through it. Take each day slowly and spend time doing things that you always loved. What was once a strange place will soon feel like home with time.