Culture Shock: How to Settle into a New Country Quickly

At some point during your life, you may decide that you want to try living abroad in a different country. There is no doubt that this can be a big, and often daunting step, but the rewards that people experience are potentially immense. But this is not something that you will want to throw yourself into lightly; you will want to ensure that you have done the full amount of research and you prepare yourself as best you can. And once you arrive, you will want to ensure that you settle into your new country as quickly as possible. So, here are just a few ways that you will better be able to do this.

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Go in with an Open Mind

 

Even is the country you are moving to is primarily English-speaking, there will still be certain cultural aspects that are inevitably different. Rather than comparing them with what happens at home too much, you should go in with an open mind and be ready to adapt yourself. After all, one of the great joys of moving to another country is to experience an entirely different type of life. Though you may be able to read books about culture, you will never understand it fully until you get there. You may even find that you pick up some new habits and customs yourself that you carry with you throughout your life.

 

Use the Language as Much as Possible

 

If you are going to a country where English is not the first language, you should try to speed up the learning process by using it as much as possible. The people who pick up languages the quickest are the ones who are willing to make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself from time to time! People appreciate that you are making an effort and will usually be helpful. Try watching local TV shows (even if you start with the subtitles on) and enrolling in some language classes to get the hang of things at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

Sort Out Admin Details Before You Arrive

 

Before you arrive in your new country, the most important admin detail that you will want to get sorted is where you will be living. You can read up on guides on the internet like http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/singapore-property-resources/singapore-hdb/ultimate-bto-guide and it is also worth visiting beforehand if you can. Once you arrive, you will want to sort everything out as soon as you can – getting furniture, finding out where the local stores are located, how you will get into work. This way, you will be able to concentrate on the other aspects of settling in like making friends and getting involved in your new community.

 

Get Involved in Local Activities and Clubs

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Following on from the last point, one of the best ways that you will get involved in the local community is by signing up for activities and clubs. So, if there is a particular hobby that you are interested in back at home, this will provide the perfect starting point. There is no doubt that making friends in a new place can be an extremely challenging prospect, but the more you get involved in the community, the more likely it is that you will be rewarded. Another good idea is to start contributing to expat forums or message boards. This way, you will have already made some new connections before you actually arrive in your new country.

 

Explore Your Surroundings

 

The best way that you can explore your local surroundings is on foot, so take some walks in different neighborhoods soon after you arrive, and you could find all sorts of different treasures waiting for you. Though you may want to decide on a few local stores and conveniences that you use, it still helps to vary up your routine from time to time. Also, don’t forget to visit the local cultural attractions as these are often the things that get overlooked when you move to a new country.

 

Keep Links Open with Your Life Back Home

 

There is definitely a balance to be struck between throwing yourself into your new life and not losing ties with the people back at home. Thankfully, technology has made it so much easier to stay in touch with your friends and family than in days gone by. Once you have really settled into your new country, it is a great feeling to have people from back home come to visit you so you can show them what things are like. All relationships take some sort of maintenance so don’t forget to put the effort in as much as possible. Having this support structure in place can help to give you a great sense to comfort and security, but you also want to make sure that you aren’t in danger of retreating into your old life.

 

Write in a Journal

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Writing in a journal seems to be something that is done less and less these days, but many people find it to be an immensely rewarding practice. It helps to clarify all your thoughts and feelings, so you can really keep track of your experiences and see how you change over time. And you really will go on a rollercoaster of emotions when you move to a new country, but the challenge remains in not letting the negative ones get the best of you. After some time living in your new country, you may start leafing back through your journal and be surprised by just how much you have changed. Also, if you note down some of your goals and aims of what you want to achieve living in your new country, they become much more real and you are more likely to hit them.

 

Learn to Start Saying Yes

 

People tend to miss out on so many great things in life because they make their default response ‘no’ when they are asked to do something. It is always the much easier answer as it won’t take you outside your comfort zone. So, if you get asked to meet new people at a social event or to an activity that you have never tried before, try making your default answer ‘yes’ and you never know where this could lead you. The same can’t be said for another night sitting at home watching Netflix!

 

Enjoy Yourself   

As we talked about at the start, moving to a new country is something which can be hugely challenging at first, and some people can turn back at the first sign of trouble. But it is also an experience that provides you with great highs as well, so learn to enjoy these as they come. Ultimately, you give yourself the best chance of settling in quickly if you throw yourself into your new lifestyle and embrace all the differences. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you completely cut yourself off from your old life, but you just want to strike the right balance between keeping in contact and not becoming over reliant on it. Even making a single good friend in your new country can make all the difference. If you have moved with your family, make sure that you are a positive driving force in getting them all to embrace your new home. Ultimately, enjoy yourself as living abroad is one of those life experiences that you will never forget.

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