If you are embarking on an international move, you may find that you can easily prepare for the practical concerns such as packing, ordering new furniture and even finding a new place to live. However, once you are settled and living in your new country, culture shock after an international move can begin unexpectedly.
What is culture shock after an international move you may ask? Culture shock refers to the rollercoaster of emotions we go through when we move to a new country and have to adjust to a different culture.
There are 4 stages to culture shock after an international move:
Stage 1: The honeymoon stage
During this stage everything in the new place seems fascinating, interesting and exciting.
Stage 2: The daily struggles
When we begin to encounter daily struggles of living in the new environment and notice the differences between life in the previous location and life in their new location. Small obstacles such as trying to navigate around the area or holding a conversation can trigger negative feelings.
Stage 3: Cultural learning
If we allow ourselves to continue learning about the new culture while navigating through the obstacles we can come out the other side and begin to feel much better.
Stage 4: New home
During this stage the new place starts feeling a like home, we succeed in making local friends, we no longer fret a lot about bad things, and we enjoy the good things.
Now you are aware of all the stages you can easily counteract culture shock by simply shifting your perspective.
It’s important to remember that all of the negative feelings experienced at the first stage of culture shock are based on your perspective of the new culture and these can easily be changed.
Ask yourself, what does your new country have that your old one doesn’t. There will be many opportunities to try new things.
Exploring the culture can be as simple as going for a walk around the city, visiting a new café or socialising at an event. Seek out opportunities where you can get involved in new activities and learn about the culture at the same time.
We can’t always change the things around us but we can change the way we feel about those things. If you are experiencing frustration or anger, rather than waiting around for the bad times to end focus on the positives.
Not every day will be easy but during the challenging moments it’s important to stay open minded and positive.
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