How to reduce culture shock when moving abroad

As with any big change in life, moving abroad can be quite stressful. Depending on what country or what part of the world it is you’re moving to, it can quite literally mean stepping into a new life with a lot of changes on both a personal and professional level. That's why it’s important to get yourself as ready as you can be for this next big step.

To help you find your feet in a new country and make the best possible start, we have collected 5 tips to help reduce culture shock when moving abroad.

Prepare yourself

Moving abroad is obviously not something that you do every day, so really taking the time to prepare yourself can already help massively reduce a potential culture shock.

Two of the easiest ways to prepare yourself are learning the language and studying the culture of the country you’re moving to. Being able to communicate with and understand a new environment are often some of the biggest barriers when it comes to moving abroad. So the better you prepare, the less likely you are to experience culture shock.

Stay self-aware

Another important tip when it comes to moving abroad is to always stay very self-aware of your own persona and the culture you come from. Some things that are completely normal to you such as certain mannerisms or views might not be customary or can even be considered offensive in other countries and cultures.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you have to completely abandon and forget everything you are famililar with, but stay aware of the fact that your new country might very well differ from your old one and that being able to adapt accordingly will always come in very handy.

Avoid stereotypes

Next, it’s also important to be aware of the diversity that the environment that you’re moving into offers. This goes hand in hand with both the aspect of preparation and self-awareness when moving abroad. Try to really educate yourself about the environment you’re moving into and don’t act based on any presumptions or preconceptions that you may have.

Many societies nowadays are so called ‘melting pots’ where people from different cultures, ethnicities and religions all live together. That is why it’s important to always be respectful to others and avoid stereotypes and stereotypical thinking at all cost.

Keep an open mind

When moving abroad, it’s also important to keep an open mind. Learn to appreciate differences, be receptive to everything that is new around you and immerse yourself in the culture and country that you’re moving to. Let your new environment help guide you and help you with settling in. This will make the move a lot easier and take away a lot of unknown factors that could lead to a culture shock in the first place.

Be patient

Finally, settling in doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient when you’re moving abroad. No matter how well you prepared or how much help you’re getting, it will take some time to really get comfortable and used to your new environment. Take it step by step and be open to the changes around you. This will help speed up the process of getting familiar with everything and turning your new country into a new home.

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