Living in a foreign culture isn’t always an easy ride and takes time to get used to. I have lived overseas for more than 13 years and lived in 3 different continents, cultures and climates. Let’s have a look at how to make the best of your experience:
Tip #1: Immerse yourself
If you are new to a country, immerse yourself: check out the public transport system, visit museums and galleries, drink coffee and tea at local cafes, join the gym, and talk to local people.
Tip #2: Learn the language
Enroll in a language class teaching the language most people speak. This will allow you to slowly converse with the people at the shops, hair dresser, taxi driver etc. and will give you a good insight into the culture.
Tip #3: Stop comparing
If you continuously compare your home country with your country of residence you won’t do yourself a favor. The fact is they are different, some things are better and some things are more challenging.
Tip #4: Write a journal
Write a personal journal about your experience living abroad. You might also want to stick in newspaper clippings or interesting things you’ve found on your field trips
Tip #5: Share your experiences
Entertain those people you left behind with news from the new world. You could write some of the news you’ve written about in your journal into a blog, upload some pictures and or send regular updates via email or mail.
Tip #6: Make new friends
Depending on the reason you live abroad you might be working or be an expat wife. Both of those scenarios will bring you in contact with new people. Making new friends takes time but the advantage of living abroad is that there are likely to be other people in the same boat as you.
Tip #7: Keep contact with loved ones back home
Another good source of emotional support is a good connection with loved ones back home. In today’s society it is very easy to stay connected via all the different social networks like Facebook, Twitter etc. and the means of cheap of free call facilities like Skype, Viber etc. Use them!
Tip #8: Explore
Living abroad means that there is a whole new surrounding to explore. Treat yourself to holidays in places you’ve never been, visit the tourist attractions in the region, savour the local cuisine and become an explorer close from a new home.
Tip #9: Invite friends
As mentioned in tip #6 making new friends takes time. Keeping old friends also requires nurturing those friendships. Offer your home, if you can, to visiting friends from your home country. You will be surprise how many intimate moments can be experienced while you’re hosting your friends.
Tip #10: Enjoy!
Make it your daily practice to enjoy the differences. Search out things to do you enjoy, like trying new cuisine, visiting new sites and local attractions, meet with people that you get along well with and that you would have never met if you stayed ‘at home’.
These are suggestions that I would have found useful when I first moved abroad. Test them out for yourself and add your own.