Culture Shock: Adapting to life in a Foreign Country

By Kevin Leland
For International Living

For many expats, those who have stayed for extended durations in places far away, culture shock is a familiar experience. There are many ways to cope. This article will give guidance to show you how to take the edge off the results of being swiftly immersed in another life-style. Just knowing that it is normal to undergo some discomfort while modifying to a new place with strange customs and possibly a new language, is the very first step in the appropriate direction.

What is the fastest method to adapt to a new culture?

If you will not be even close to fluent in the language of the people you find yourself trying to assimilate to, you are genuinely in for an adventure! Of course, figuring out how to communicate with the folks with whom you will reside, work and play, for some extended period of time is a first priority. Rosetta  stone is an excellent program, even if it’s a bit pricey, that can give you a good jump start on beating the language barrier.

Map of the languages and dialects spoken in It...

Image via Wikipedia

I had three years of Italian before I got orders to ship out to Italy by the U. S. Navy. My wife and I experienced culture shock for real, and even though I could communicate, I was by no means proficient. That was evident the night I had been trying to tell my Landlord, Guido (yeah, really, that was his name) a story regarding my Great Uncle. He raised rabbits inside a little residential farm, next door to me. He had 200 rabbits. I was supposed to say “Mio Zio ha due cento conigli” Instead, I mixed up the term for bunnies, “conigli” for “coglioni.”  This noun confusion, translated, made me say My Uncle has Two hundred testicles.” Guido had a good laugh, and I think appreciated my effort.

Exchange costs and currency

Learning the monitary system could be even more crucial than studying the language. You can point to what you will need to pay for, but you need to know what to offer. The etiquette differences of just  “going to the market” or even simply to a bar or bistro vary by way of a great degree in other cultures. In Italy, no one forms a “line” at a admission counter, or otherwise. You have to elbow your way through the hoard, assertively yet non-violently. It’s one of those aspects which will really grind on your nerves, when this type of behavior is recognized as rude inside your own culture.

Transportation: Finding your way around this brand new land

Ferries, charter busses, trains…Just about all have techniques that though it’s reasonably intuitive, it truly is foreign. These types of hubs for transportation see many visitors from near and far, and you can generally find a native willing to point the way to a couple of struggling travelers. Spend some pre-trip moments studying the geography of the land you are moving to. Arrive well before leaving times, to learn routes, and expenses.

Settle into Culture shock. It’s all part of being well traveled. It comes with the territory as does “jetlag!”

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