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Culture shock and adaptation | How do you adapt to a new country when you move?

| Anna |

Kulturowy szok i adaptacja | Jak dostosować się do nowego kraju po przeprowadzce?

Removals to a new country is an adventure that can be both exciting and liberating, as well as stressful. One of the biggest challenges you can face is culture shock – the feelings of disorientation and uncertainty that can occur when you are immersed in a foreign culture. Here are tips to help you cope with culture shock, build new relationships and integrate into the local community.

Understanding the cultural shock of the move

Culture shock is a natural part of the adaptation process and comes in several stages, from initial awe to eventual acceptance and adjustment to the new culture. The key is to understand that what you are experiencing is normal and that you will adapt over time.

Tips for coping with culture shock

  • Be open and patient: Allow yourself time to adapt. Be open to new experiences and cultural differences.
  • Learn the local language: Even a basic knowledge of the language can help with everyday interactions and show the local community that you appreciate their culture.
  • Seek support: Join expat support groups or clubs where you can meet people who are going through similar experiences.
  • Keep part of your routine: Finding elements of your existing routine can help you feel more ‘at home’ and provide a sense of stability.
  • Be socially active: Create opportunities to meet new people and build relationships. This could be volunteering, joining interest clubs or attending local events.
  • Learn local customs and traditions: Understanding local customs can help avoid misunderstandings and build good relationships with locals.
  • Remember the positives: Focus on the positive aspects of your new situation, such as new opportunities, adventures and experiences.

Building new relationships and integrating into the local community

  • Be the initiator: Don’t wait for others to approach you. Be the person who initiates contact.
  • Participate in local life: By taking part in events and traditions, you show respect and interest in local culture.
  • Use social media and apps: There are many platforms designed to help you make connections in your new location.
  • Share your culture: Hosting evenings with cuisine from your country or talking about your traditions can be a great way to integrate and share a part of yourself.

How to understand and accept the cultural shock of an international move?

  • Education: Before you move, try to learn as much as possible about your new place. Read books, watch films and use the internet to better understand cultural nuances. Knowing the history, politics and social norms can help you in the first steps of adaptation.
  • Reflection: reflect on your own values and beliefs and how they may conflict or harmonise with the new culture. This will help you to better understand your reactions to new experiences.

Strategies for coping with culture shock

  • Journal: Keeping a journal can help you process new experiences and emotions. Write down your thoughts, feelings, as well as positive experiences and achievements.
  • Mindfulness and relaxation: stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing or yoga can help relieve the tension associated with adaptation.

Creating new relationships after the move

  • Initiating conversations: Hooking people up with questions about directions, local attractions or restaurant recommendations can be a good way to start a conversation.
  • Language: Taking language courses will not only improve your language skills, but will also give you the chance to meet people in a similar situation.

Integration into the local community after relocation

  • Volunteering: getting involved in community or charitable activities can not only have a positive impact, but will also give you a better understanding of local needs and values.
  • Local groups and events: Look for hobby or sports groups that match your interests. Joining such communities can make it easier to form lasting relationships.

Mental health after the move

Removals to a new country can be a source of considerable stress, so it is important to look after your mental health. If you feel you need support, do not hesitate to seek help from professionals such as psychologists or therapists.

International removals

Adapting to a new environment is a process that requires time, patience and perseverance. Remember that every experience, even one as challenging as international removals is an opportunity to learn and grow. By being open to new experiences, learning and engaging with the community, you can turn the challenge of adaptation into a valuable life adventure.