Who hasn’t dreamed of packing their bags and buying a one-way ticket to a new life somewhere in the world? Expatriation is a dream that comes true for many, but that often ends up being far from the expected fairy tale.
Nowadays it is easy to open the computer and come across thousands of stories ofexpatriates who share their daily lives. However, as with most subjects, we tend to share only the most beautiful facets of our lives and thus give the impression of living in a perpetual honeymoon.
Changing countries is obviously an enriching experience, no matter what, but there is one facet that is easy to underestimate: the Cultural shock.
What is culture shock?
The Cultural shock is the feeling of disorientation that can be felt when someone is faced with a culture or one lifestyle different from him. Even if you were lucky enough to grow up in one multicultural environment as some countries or some cities may be, we are all influenced by our environment. Our traditions it’s ours life habits are conditioned by our Education it’s ours societymainly in terms of values it’s from social behaviors. So, even if you are an open-minded person, with a thirst for discovery, it is very likely that you will go through this famous Cultural shock.
Without realizing it, we are shaped by where we were raised, until our Way of thinking it’s ours valuesso one expatriation it can be so hard on the mind. The media fills us with information, but the points of view chosen are often subjective and open to interpretation, for example, the series Emily in Paris it aroused astonishment among many French people who did not recognize the Paris they knew, while for American viewers it represents reality.
Indeed, despite all the means of information and communication and although we believe we are correctly informed about the country culture who welcomes us, lives the cultural differences in person and no longer behind our screens is very different. It is impossible to be perfectly prepared for what awaits us by changing countries, especially if theexpatriation takes place on another continent.
choose the international mobility, means accepting to put aside everything we have learned so far about a place and being confronted with behaviors and thoughts that are radically different from our own. This is when the Cultural shock.
Every person who chooses to tryexpatriation adventureduring their schooling or in the context of their work, will be faced with the cultural shockI. Although for some the feeling regulates itself naturally without leaving serious consequences, others may feel more affected. After the adrenaline rush of arriving at a new environmentit seems natural to experience a rush of excitement that, compared to the honeymoon effervescence, feels even darker.
The Cultural shock can be expressed in several ways: disorientation after the excitement and fascination phase, irritability and lack of patience on a daily basis in the face of cultural differences. For those most affected, it is possible to experience a real depression phaseone change in appetite (both up and down) or even a lethargy often accompanied by a strong increased stress.
If it’s natural to feel these symptoms and feelingsit is obvious that we must not let the discomfort settle in for your own good and to fully live your adventure. So what to do?
How to overcome culture shock during your expatriation?
The Cultural shock often comes to break the bubble of unrealistic projections that we have, for many of us, before us. expatriate. In fact, if we didn’t project positive expectations into our expatriation, we may not go out. However, it is not a question of turning around and returning to the first signs of Cultural shockso what are our tips for avoiding or alleviating these symptoms?
1) Seriously learn about your host country.
Take the time to do your research on the country culture who will receive it, its values and its “flaws”. There are no perfect countries and knowingly leaving won’t spoil your experience, but it can save you a lot of disenchantment.
2) Learn the language, or at least start doing it.
You can never be perfectly integrated or understand the subtleties of a culture without learning your language. Speak your language place of life It will also open up more dating opportunities for you and help locals think well of you. In countries that know little international mobilitythis can be beneficial.
3) Communicate about your doubts and discouragement.
keep to yourself discomfort will do nothing to make it disappear. Trust your relatives who stayed in your home country, share with your colleagues and privately with others foreign students who can feel the same or another expatriates. Feeling understood and supported can be beneficial, but don’t fall into too much negativity and try not to focus too much on what’s bothering you in the country.
4) Be active.
Don’t be depressed if you can do it. Sign up for activities, go on adventures, make new friends, why not get active? O expat groups on social networks will be of great help to you and will allow you to find companions for your explorations in your host country !
5) Recreate habits.
To feel at home and in control, rituals are important and comforting. to live abroad it’s challenging and adventurous, but also stressful. Resume lifestyle habits that remind you of the stability you had in your native country can help you reduce your anxiety.
be a victim of Cultural shockis not an end, it is simply a very natural stage in a person’s life. expatriate . In most cases, the negative feelings will subside as you become more comfortable with your daily life until, after spending enough time abroad, you can experience a reverse culture shockway home!