Moving abroad: how to integrate into a different culture
By Simon Duncan on February 14, 2018
The dream of many people is to move abroad for work, and whether that is by doing something new or getting promoted to another office overseas, the idea of an entirely new way of life can be very appealing.
Discovering new cultures, food, and ways of life is an exciting prospect, but a lot of people fall into their usual routines once they have unpacked and end up missing out on the adventure of living in a different country.
Although it may seem safer to rely on ex-pat communities and do things that remind you of home, it is far more interesting to explore your new home and embrace your new way of life. Here are four ideal ways you can integrate into a new culture.
Investigate your neighborhood
Even if you have some experience of the place you are moving to there is a lot of difference between a vacation and being a resident. To make the most out of your time, you should take a good look around your new neighborhood and meet the people that will be going to the same shops and cafes as you. This is an ideal time to broaden your horizons so take full advantage of it.
Communication is key
It is entirely possible to move to another country and get by living the same old lifestyle and only talking to fellow ex-pats. But to get a better idea of your new home you should try to learn the local language. Ideally, you should start lessons before you leave, so you at least have a basic grounding by the time you get there.
Kids can integrate too
If you have children, they will need to enter the local school system, and that can be very challenging for many kids. But it is a great way to meet new people – for you as well as the little ones – and there is no reason why they can’t keep up with a similar educational system as back home. That is important if you know you will return home one day and a Hong Kong international school would be the best of both worlds if you moved to eastern Asia.
Get out of your comfort zone
It is only natural that you may experience some feelings of homesickness when you first move abroad and want to be around familiar things. There is no reason at all to completely avoid the ex-pat community in your new locale but try to make sure that you don’t end up relying on them for your entire stay. You will be missing out on so much and those feelings of missing home will soon pass.
Live like a local
If you do get the chance to move to another country, then you should do all you can to integrate into the local culture and discover new things. That way you really will have the best experience and make the most of whatever length of time you are there.