Life Hacks Lifestyle Travel

THE EXPAT’S DIARY: HOW TO LEARN THE CULTURE OF YOUR NEW HOME

There is hardly nothing more exciting than the unknown, right? The anticipation, the mystery, and the great feeling that something amazing is about to happen! Perhaps you are moving to a new country for a while to do some specific training for your job or an internship abroad. Maybe you decided to take your studies a bit further and attend an European university. Perhaps, you are even planning to do the big jump: purchase a one-way ticket to a foreign country that has always on your mind.

Congratulations, you won’t regret this magic journey. But as always, if you do it well! 🙂

As a Spanish girl who has lived in London and is now a permanent resident in Germany, I know how to overcome culture shock. Despite the great beauty of discovering a new country, the whole process at times can be harsh. Our roots carve our personality way more than we are aware of. And you will surprise yourself finding that you are actually more patriotic than you thought.

For starters, if you find yourself moving to a “colder” country, let’s say from a Mediterranean country to a Scandinavian country or simply from America to Europe, you will find a change in the general character of people. Here are three essential keys to learning a new culture:

Have an open mind

Peoples’ face expressions at the groceries, small talk at the elevator, the “please and thank you’s, and greetings such as a kiss on the cheek, a hug, or just a ‘hey how are you?’ are all so different. Since you’re not used to another countries’ customs, it’s important to have an open mind and I really mean not to take things personally! Yes, you will feel awkward most of the times but just remember you are a brand new resident.

Learn the language

I highly recommend to read in advance as much as you can about the new country you will be living in. Read about its habits, social protocols, how they eat their food, what is OK and not OK to talk about. If you are more informed, you will be better prepared facing unexpected situations. This will ultimately help to reduce anxiety if you are someone that prefers to have things under control.

culture shock graph
Major key for to reduce our anxiety via Smacken Grenoble

Learning the foreign language might be hard but extremely rewarding: it helps you to understand better your surroundings and indeed locals really appreciate you trying even if your sentences don’t make any sense! Even when you are embarrassed, don’t worry too much! They will think you are cute and brave for just trying. Also, it will definitely lead you to situations where you’ll have the chance to meet more locals. Win-win!

Do not underestimate neither because both will lead you to the third and foremost key! This one will make the most difference in your stay.

Making local friends

How do we get to meet locals? Well, this is a tricky one. You have to be patient, determined, and have a little bit of luck. Sign up for group activities in your city that interests you. Great ideas to start are yoga and DIY workshops where you’ll find people that fits with you. There are great social platforms out there that will help you to meet new people, so do not fear using Hey! Vina to meet new ladies even when the language might not be so fluent. Remember.. if they are on the app, it is because they want to meet you too!

(Featured Image via Makenna Alyse

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