Overcoming Culture Shock - Adjusting to a New Country

Moving to a new country can be exciting. In the beginning stage of the move, everything is new. There are new places to see, new foods to try, and new things to do. However, there are other stages of living in a new country that are not so pleasant. The purpose of this blog post is to help prepare you for your move. It might also help you if you have already moved and are experiencing sadness from being away from home.

If you know that there are different phases of culture shock, this might help you know that this feeling is normal. After a time, things will get better.

1. Excitement - You have moved because of new work opportunities or for a better life. There are a lot of reasons why people move. When you first arrive, you may be so busy unpacking and getting your new home or apartment set up, that you are too busy to think about anything else. You want to learn about this new place that you will be calling "home" for a while.

2. Frustration - You may be using a new language and simple tasks such as going to the store or going out to eat provide new challenges. You might understand parts of conversations at work, but you don't have enough language skills to be able to add anything to the conversation quickly. Then you realize every day is going to be like this for a while. You might wonder why you ever moved to begin with. You might feel that you should have stayed in your home country. You might start to feel some sadness and even deep sadness for a long time (depression).

3. Adjustment - You start to have a routine of things you do every day or every week to keep you busy. You start to see familiar faces and maybe even make a few new friends. Your navigation of places to go and your routines become easier. You don't compare your home country to your new country as often. If you work, you start understanding more vocabulary and start learning common expressions and short sentences that are used often.

4. Acceptance - Even though there is no place like home, you feel comfortable in your new country. You may not understand why people do what they do in this new place, but you accept that this is what locals do. If it's time to go back home, you might even feel sad about leaving because you now actually like your current home and have made some friends.

Tips for overcoming culture shock:

1. If you live in the United States where there isn't much public transportation, get a driver's license. This will enable you to find new places to go and more things to do in your free time.

2. Take English classes. Learn everyday English sentences or take a business English class. This will help make your everyday life easier. This is also a good way to get to know other people who are new to the United States.

3. Be patient. Learning a new language is a lot of work. You may not learn as fast as you want to, but don't quit.

4. Try to find things to do every day or every week that you can look forward to.

5. Get plenty of sleep. Everyone feels better when they have enough rest. It is easier to have a good attitude anywhere in the world if you get at least seven hours of sleep.

6. Eat healthy food. If you get sick, being away from home will be more difficult. Try to stay healthy to avoid getting sick.

7. Talk with friends and family using e-mail, Skype, Line, or WhatsApp. These days, it is much easier to stay in contact with people you know than ever before.