Culture shock can be a brutal affliction.
Miles away from home, in a land where nothing is familiar and cut off from your family and friends, the first few months of an expats can prove to be difficult even for the strongest of individuals. The effects of culture shock can vary in their severity, some people simply feel a bit blue form time to time, while some people may actually experience physical sickness as a result.
What’s important to remember is that culture shock is a completely natural facet of moving to a new country, and as mentioned almost all expats will experience at one time or another. It’s also important to know that the effects of culture shock will certainly fade over time, so let’s take a look at some effective tips of making culture shock disappear sooner rather than later.
The first step of beating culture shock is recognise its existence. Don’t be one of those people who bury problems, and their head, in the sand. If you fully expect to embark on a proverbial emotional rollercoaster then it will be that much easier to get off as opposed to continuously riding.
Integration is key to battling culture shock. Get to know the place, stroll around and take in the local sights. Explore your local area and develop a good awareness of your new surroundings, that way you won’t be left wanting if you fancy dinner in a restaurant, a local drink or a pack of cigarettes late at night.
Stay in touch with loved ones back home
If missing your friends and family is one of the min reasons for feeling homesick, then get in touch! Gone are the days when a faraway trip truly disconnected you from loved ones, now there is a plethora of ways to connect with people. Write an email, exchange a tweet, leave a Facebook comment, make a Skype video call. The internet has given us many wonderful ways to stay connected and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of every one of them.
Learn the language
Learning, or picking up the basics, of the native language of your new home is absolutely vital for expatriates. Doing so will let you connect with the people around you in a real way, as opposed to that of a fleeting visitor. So it’s recommended that you take perhaps a beginners course to fill you in on the local lingo.
Fill your time
When you’re not working make sure you keep busy to avoid boredom and homesickness. Take up a hobby, join a gym, get involved with a local sports team or whatever your interests may be.
Explore your new country
Travelling around your new home could be a great and rewarding activity. Ignore the fact that you’re an en expat and think like a tourist, visit the sights, go on tours, and importantly learn as much about the place as possible.
Make friends and socialise
This step is potentially the one that will banish culture shock the most effectively. Make as many new friends as possible, take up all invitations to social events through work, maybe find other expats to socialise with too.
Do your research
You can also help yourself by learning about the customs and ways of life in your new country before you travel there. That way, if there are aspects of life that differ greatly you may not find them to be as drastically different as if you travel with no prior knowledge.