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How to Ease the Culture Shock of an International Move
An international move is both exciting and scary. Whether you move for work, pleasure or school, you will face culture shock. Consider lessening the impact of culture shock when you learn the language, make logistical decisions and adjust to the culture before your international move.
One of the greatest challenges of and international move is the language barrier. Even if you only plan a temporary move, learning at least a few phrases of the local language can ease culture shock. Start by learning key phrases that help you navigate your new town. Consider learning conversational phrases that enable you to introduce yourself and find out about other people. You will want to know how to ask for a bathroom, food, water or taxi, and you may also want to learn phrases that will enable you to negotiate purchases at the market. Additionally, learn manner phrases like please, thank you and you are welcome.
If you are moving for a job, learn phrases that convey greeting or respect for coworkers and clients. Ask the Human Resources director to prepare a list of words or phrases that would be helpful for you to learn before your move.
Because everyone’s situation is different, make a list of words and phrases you would like to learn, and check them off as you master each phrase. Consider enrolling in Learnoutlive, an online language learning center. While you most likely will not be a fluent speaker before your move, at least start the language learning process and then continue your lessons after you settle into your new home.
In addition to learning the language, you will need to handle logistical details before you move. Apply for the appropriate Visa and a passport. Receive a medical exam, pack prescription medications and purchase medical insurance. Decide how much money you need to take for income and housekeeping. Secure a place to live, and obtain information about applying for a driver’s license. Hire experienced and reliable long distance movers to help make the transition smooth and hassle-free.
Take several additional steps to prepare for a different culture. A new climate, food, friends, home and even street signs can throw you off course. If possible, attend local cultural events and start adapting to the changes before you move. Find festivals, restaurants and shops in local international communities where you can explore the sights, sounds and smells that will soon be your reality.
Join an international club or online chat room where you can talk with others about your upcoming international move. Your new friends will share helpful advice and guide you to books, movies, museums, blogs and other resources that will help you prepare for the culture in your new home.
After you arrive at your international destination, immerse yourself in the local culture. Treat yourself to a meal in a local restaurant. Indulge in a familiar dish while saving the more unusual fare for after your taste buds and stomach adjusts to the cuisine. Visit local shops to get a feel for the artisanship and people in your new town. Contact a local university, religious group or civic group and start building friendships. At the very least, hire a guide to show you around town and offer helpful pointers for your first few weeks.
An international move is a great experience. Lighten the impact of culture shock when you learn the language, handle logistical decisions and prepare for new cultural experiences before you move. While you will face additional culture shock after you arrive in your new home, preparation in these three areas helps you process the overseas move and start your adventure on solid footing.
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