Countering Culture Shock
How to Cope When Moving to a New Country
Recently, I wrote a post about five common causes of culture shock when working abroad. This week, let’s talk about how to combat that culture shock.
When you move to a new country, you’re usually flooded with excitement and adrenaline and distracted by the reason you moved there in the first place: a new job, a new relationship, a desire to explore, etc. All of this newness can delay the onset of culture shock. That great high you’re feeling can suddenly hit a low, and then boom, there you are: deep in a trough due to isolation, depression, unfamiliar surroundings, or missing your loved ones. You don’t have to raise the white flag, though.
Try these four tips to ease culture shock:
Remember the Excitement
Take a step back and remember what excited you about the move in the first place. Revisit places you were excited to visit, take trips to new places, learn more about your new country and culture. The more you immerse yourself in your new country, the more it feels like home.
Pick New Activities to Explore
In addition to doing things you were excited to do, branch out and try things that are a little out of your comfort zone. You may find yourself being pleasantly surprised, and it’ll help you be more positive.
Find Like-Minded People
Expatriates (or expats) will often be the best bet for making friends in your new country. The biggest mistake I made after my first move was not making friends with similar life experiences. You’ll be able to share the common experience of being an outsider, and that helps you form long lasting bonds.
Find Friendly Locals
Kind locals that can help you understand the culture and fit in are key to success in your new country. These connections help you feel at home in a new place. Be nice to everyone and they’ll be nice to you.
A lot of people think taking a job abroad is like a work vacation, but this is a deep misunderstanding. It’s work, just like anything else. And while there may be an adjustment period, a move is definitely worth it for the experiences and exposure. Plus, it adds huge value to your hireability and sets you apart from others – so go for it!
Want to dig in deeper with me and some other like-minded people? Join my Essential Leadership Skills Workshop or join my Leadership Mastermind program!