How to Cope in a Foreign Country

Growing up as a young person in this contemporary society, we often have to plan on the things we could probably do and people we could love to meet. Traveling far away from home has always been at the back of everyone’s mind, if not everyone then at least a majority of us. To go and visit different countries, learn new languages and how to adapt to new cultures and new geographical as well as psychological environments. Some of us might have different reasons for which we really travel or may want to travel out of our various countries for futures in a foreign country. We may want to or travel because we want to run away from our problems and are looking for avenues from where we can successfully stay away from them; some persons may travel for the mere adventure of just enjoying the fun in travelling far and wide across the entire world, most of those tourists often enjoy going for leisure trips; some persons decide to travel out of their countries because they want to go for further studies and the only place possible for them to do so is their possible host country, and so have to make arrangements to leave out of home for a considerable period of time; some of what takes some persons out of their home countries to a foreign country is no other thing than business or the type of work they are into. Some people may work in multi-national corporations, and would require some of its employees to sacrifice the comfort of their homes and fatherlands to live and work in completely new and strange lands with very little or nothing similar to their homes. It does not matter if not all the instances listed above are the reasons for your moving out of the country or a potential movement or not, the mere fact is that moving out of the country has always lingered across most of our minds, while some people may have succeeded in their dreams of doing so, others may have been left out may be due to the handicap of lack of funds to do so or because they may not be able to deal with the aspect of culture shock if they are out of the country. Our new life in the country may be something to deter us from actually doing what we would have loved to do and so we categorically kill our dreams because we do not know the outcome of our “gamble”. If that is the case, then I think the following tips on how to survive and integrate yourself in a foreign country are going to be of great interest to you.

  • Immerse yourself in the foreign culture

If you have to succeed in which ever country you have decided to move into from your own natural habitat, then of course you will have to move out of your comfort zone and get inculcated into the culture which you just moved into. Don’t forget it is where you will be spending a considerable portion of your time. Get to know the people with whom you are working and the people in the neighborhood you just joint. Try as much as possible to learn what they do like and do not like, their diet, the beliefs of the people in that particular country and make sure you never assume something to be the way you may perceive it to be, especially if it is commonly done in your own country and you perceive the same outcomes for your host nation. For instance, if in China, you begin to consider the color red as a symbol of danger, then you may be in for some trouble with the Chinese, because to them, the color red symbolizes something way out of that. In essence, culture adaptation in a different country is the most vital thing to begin with if your whole existence or time in that country has to be completely successful. The aspect of culture adaptation is most at times very well understood by most Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) who are out on humanitarian duty across the globe. When you understand the aspect of knowing the people you are interacting with and their way of life, then you might as well consider yourself as part of them and may gradually forget the fact that you are not a citizen of that country because you have understood them the way they are and behave. If you let go of stereotypes and racial biases, then you would discover that moving out of the country could be a life-altering experience you love.

  • Accept things the way they are in your host country

One other thing you have to take to consideration in the country you have moved into is understand that no matter what, where you are will never be the same way as your home country and so you will have to do with it the way it is. Make do the infrastructure you have, the diet you have available and know that no matter what, you can do very little to change the situation you’ve found yourself in. Accept the fact that the people you are living and working with are the way they are and behave the way they do. Do not let the idea of culture shock deter you from the purpose of your movement to that country and get you distracted for most of the time. This is imperative because anybody who decides to move to another country need some time to adapt to their new environment and make themselves part of that community. Keep away your home cultures which you may perceive as contradictory to those of your host country. At the initial stages of your arrival to that new environment, you may face some challenges adapting to the environment and the way of life, but taking some time out to do what you need to do will gradually put you on track to integrate adequately into it. If you are thinking of how to move to another country, then you definitely too have to think of how to adapt to another environment without complaints.

  • Learn the language of the country

If you are a master of the English and French languages simultaneously, then you may have an added advantage if you are moving out of the country. This is so because most of the countries we may likely love to go to will likely speak one of these two languages, and if so, then culture adaptation will be a very little problem for you to solve, and you may equally not experience the culture shock which scares so many people of their adventures. However, if the language of the country you are moving into is slightly or completely different from that which you are adapted to, then it is necessary that you learn the new language you are going to spend the rest of your time in that country using to communicate. Our new life in the country chosen will depend on how well communication can flow between you and the people you are spending the time with, or doing business. This aspect of language is especially very vital for people who may be living their countries of birth for studies abroad. Learning the language of a foreign country before moving into it could be the most ideal thing to do if we would want to speed up with the culture adaptation immediately we make a move. Learn the new language but don’t get upset because you probably cannot master the language as fast as you can. Some languages could be very difficult to know and you definitely need some time to make it a part of you.

  • Learn how to deal with culture shock

You may have been passing through the term culture shock in the passage but possibly did not understand what it is all about. That second you make the first step or land in your new area, you initially might get carried away by the newness of things around you, smiling at the street vendors making their trade, admiring the beautiful sky scrapers that surround you and the fact that everything by you seem to glitter or possibly the other way round. You may get carried away by the openness of the people around, or you may have entered a highly patriarchal society. Some of these things may look amazing to you but the truth is gradually the other side of the coin starts showing up at a certain point in time and you start seeing and experiencing some other things you probably may not have imagined you could once go through. All these feeling and experiences is known as culture shock. You literally may not be shocked per say, but this act of feeling disoriented and perceiving the completely new way of live explains it all. The initial euphoria you experience upon your arrival, joint to the irritation and hostility you likely might encounter the, gradual understanding and the adaptation and the biculturalism are the process you could pass through to get done with healing culture shock upon arrival in a new country.

  • Forget about their problems

Moving into a foreign country, you may equally just assume that you are directly going to inherit the problems and difficulties of that community since you might be spending a quite considerable amount of time there. But the fact is sometimes you just have to let go of some of these issues and accept you may have very little or nothing to do to help them. By the way you did not contribute in the issues for them to be solved with your efforts; neither can you do much to help them out of certain situations. When you just accept things the way they are, then surely adapting to that country for that period will certainly be less of a burden for you to solve, and you then find out that it becomes more comforting to you as a newcomer.

  • Spend some time on the internet

If you are thinking of how to move to another country, then you have to think about how to keep yourself entertained once you are in your new host country. Well guess what, the internet could serve as a perfect distraction during those moments you likely may be feeling a little home sick. When using the internet with some little improvisation, it could be of great help to you especially on culture adaptation. You could decide to use the internet to learn the language of the country you are in, how to cook their meals, learn the cultures of the country, especially if it is a heterogeneous community like Cameroon or any other African country, get to know of the types of songs that are popular in that country and what taste they have for theatre. Knowing these things without anybody actually having to tell you about them makes you feel better and happy to state the facts as they are especially if in a conversation with citizens of that country. When we take the initiative to learn without actually having to get the knowledge come from another person, the feeling about it is simply amazing and an exciting urge to know more, making us to forget the some of the worries with our new life in the country.

  • Keep in touch with loved ones

When thinking of how to move to another country, it is imperative to never forget keeping in touch with family back in your country of origin. When settled in a different country, especially for some reasons which may keep you there for a considerable length of time, it is always good to call back home through or even through letters. With this highly advanced technological era, the cost of making a call to a loved one from a faraway country costs very little or almost nothing to afford. So with the little needed to make a contact back home, you could do it often especially during your early days of arrival in the country. The more you keep in touch with your family and loved ones back home in your country of origin, the more normal you begin perceiving things even in a country which originally is a strange land to you. Calling back home from our host country helps a great deal in shaping our new life in the country, and also reduces the chances of emails and letters being sent from home of your disturbing long absence without keeping in touch.

  • Give up on where you are from

If we have to succeed in building our new life in the country we moved into, then it would be of benefit if we first all start by forgetting the fact that we come from where we come from, and start thinking like I am from where I am at the moment. Do not stress as much to start thinking about the problems faced back in your country of origin if you really have to make it successfully in your new host country in terms of settlement and most especially culture adaptation of the people of that country you are in. Give up on where you are from and start thinking like the people of where you are in. However, by giving up on where you are from does not mean you should equally forget about your family and other loved ones. That would be complete misunderstanding of it. Always remember to keep in touch with your friends and most especially your family only if you intend on quickly adapting to the new country you found yourself in. They surely might move on with their lives in your absence and they might resent you but will still listen to your stories if they are interesting and good enough for them. In such cases, you move on with your life without any external influence from your country, and your family equally moves on without you, but with both parties keeping in touch with each other and helping each other move on without the other.

  • Date someone from that country

Moving out of the country and experiencing how life could be in other places is one still very interesting thing people will always love to experience. Moving out of the country to another one may be one thing to handle but finding true happiness which is long lasting in your host nation is equally an issue which people in this situation often struggle to solve. One of the best things to do to solve this dilemma is by dating someone from the country you just moved in to. Doing this could go a long way in solving most of the issues you are facing in that country as a newcomer. Apart from the fact that your partner could help you in culture adaptation of that country, s/he equally gives you reason for a new beginning and a smoother path towards integrating to the country you are in. However, the choice to date someone from your host country is an optional decision, and there actually is no particular way to go about it. This is so because it produced mixed outcomes to many expats who have tried this. As much as this can help in the adaptation of the persons in their host country, it could equally account for some little frustrations that could be damaging to the newcomer in the country. So as for this tip, the only thing that can be said is for you to gamble at your own risk.

  • Go touring when you feel down

Some of us always have at the back of our minds the purpose to explore and see new places the moment we are moving out of the country. Whenever you feel yourself getting a little lonely and not yourself once you are in a foreign country, there could never be a better thing to do than to go out for a little stroll around the environs. Get to visit other parts of the city you find yourself in. The one thing that is always exciting on your visit to a new country is the fact that you are always guaranteed to see new places and meet new faces which could contribute a great deal to your life in that country. When out on exploration and back, you do not only feel satisfied you are fulfilling some of the dreams you had when you were thinking of how to move to another country, but equally the fact that you do can find your way back after a day’s exploration without actually requiring the services of another in doing so.

  • Find people from your own country and other expats if you can

Sometimes you are faced with so many challenges in your country that you begin thinking of how to move to another country so as to run away from them. You may think you don’t want to be identified with people from your area in your new country, mainly with the excuse that you came to that country to discover new places and meet new faces. That might be very interesting to do especially in moving on with your life, but let us face the fact, the moment you came face to face with someone from your country after a long period of non-recognition, you definitely would always feel satisfied and feel very fulfilled. It even get interesting the more when you met someone who is an expat like you who equally hasn’t been home for a long time and is equally not intending in doing so in any time near. It’s equally hard to make friends with the locals of a community especially in a foreign country if you do not have the connection of a fellow countryman who has been there for a good amount  of time to guide and give you the advice you need in going about your adaptation process in that country. You would not believe how fast you go about this if you seek the help of an expat that will definitely understand whenever you feel homesick.

  • Go to the movies

Getting to better know the culture of the people of your new country too is by visiting their cinema and getting to watch some of the movies locally made in that country. It doesn’t matter if you understand barely just 20% of the movie you are watching. Even if you really can’t understand anything out of it, just do it anyway, just to start to improve upon your comprehension of the new language. When watching it with people who understand what the movie is all about, you then have the advantage of better understanding the drama either through their reactions to the movie or simply by asking for some short translations by nationals who master the language. It gets more interesting when you happen to watch some of the movies in the foreign language but with transcriptions beneath that may enable you to interpret what it all is about. All these help you a great deal in your adaptation process and integration into your new society.

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