Practical tips to cope with culture shock abroad

Published on 2019-11-06 at 12:56 by Gail Monique Mallo
Seasoned expats can adapt to any kind of change when it comes to environment and people but those who are new to this lifestyle can have a hard time coping with its difficulties. One of the most hardest parts of being an expat is the adapting part—New people and new environment in the absence of old friends and family.

Here are practical tips to cope with culture shock:

Set your mind that difficulties will occur.

Prepare yourself for difficulties when you make your decision to move. By anticipating change you will be able to ease in to your new country and new people once you have arrived. 

Prepare yourself psychologically and emotionally.

This part starts prior to making the move. Accept that you will sometimes feel lonely and will feel the effects of culture shock. This is especially true when it comes to countries such as the Middle East when you have to be sensitive about local customs and societal norms. 

Read up on the country you are relocating to.

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with what to expect it terms of culture is to research. Read books, scour the World Wide Web and read up on literature and other articles by expat themselves. By reading up on their experiences you will be able to familiarize yourself with the changes expected of you.

Explore other channels of social media such as online video communities and websites.

Read about personal experiences or watch vlogs on shared experiences of expats like you. With their lessons in culture and how to adapt to culture shock, you will be able to ease into the difficulties easier rather than going in blindly. 

Detach yourself from feelings of homesickness even before you leave.

Focus on the exciting adventure ahead and be excited about new experiences.

Avoid attaching to sentimental aspects of your life in your home country and look forward to your journey. 

Make friends with locals and expats alike.

This usually starts at your workplace where most of your colleagues will be happy to support your transition in your new home. 

Accept the big changes and small.

Accept these changes along with its difficulties. By accepting your new role as an expat, you will be able to take on challenges that come with it easier. 

Maintain close ties with friends and family back home.

Be in constant communication with people that matter to you back home. They will be able to provide support for you emotionally and psychologically should difficult times occur. These days there are convenient ways to do this such as by video chat and voice calls. 

Immerse yourself with the culture of your host country.

By embracing it wholeheartedly with an open mind, you will not only adapt easier but enjoy the process of transitioning from a transient to a resident as well. 

Enjoy the ride!

An expat life is not always smooth sailing but once you get past the rough tides it is a joyful path to be in. Acknowledge the excellent opportunities and make the most out of your expat life. 

Most expats transition well once they acknowledge the good and bad parts of expatriation. The difficult parts are what make expatriation all the more exciting. In fact, the nomadic life is actually addictive once you become a seasoned expat. Enjoy and know that it is only difficult in the beginning. Once you are past that it is smooth sailing.