Culture shock is usually inevitable experience for the people who have moved to another country/state. Whether you are moving across the country or overseas, you are likely to face the necessary effect of the transition – culture shock. Surprisingly, it can happen even if you are moving within your own country. Either way, culture shock is mostly related to anxiety, stress, disorientation, confusion, feeling of loneliness…An extreme homesickness and fear of unfamiliar circumstances may be so overwhelming that you could even want to return home.
Dealing with culture shock Once you move to the new country you will realize that your old patterns are no longer applicable and that everything is changed including language, food, habits, social roles and expectations, values,…Some of the reactions to the culture shock are: health issues like headaches, allergies, insomnia or oversleeping, changeable mood, depression, lack of comfort, confusion, desire to leave your new home and get back home, feeling of loneliness, anger or sadness,…
It is fairly unpredictable which of these states will show up, whether it will be just one or a mixture of feelings. Being out of your comfort zone and facing the unfamiliar most probably will cause you a lot of insecurity. However, culture shock is not necessarily a negative thing. Try to identify a positive aspect of it and it may occur to you that it is actually a warning for you to take action and explore the new environment. Don’t waste time pitying yourself. Be fully aware and present participant of your own life instead and fight the depression.
Here are some guidelines how to adapt to the new home:
– Make your new apartment feel like home as soon as possible. Arrange the new place and decorate it with the items that remind you of your old home. The details like candles, photo frames and other decorative items will make your new home warm and comfortable. Have photos of your family and friends on the shelves. Cheerful curtains or blankets will also warm up the space. Arranging and decorating takes time, so try to prioritize the room where you and your family spend most time. Prepare lunch or dinner as soon as you settle in and have some pleasant, stress-free time with your family. Also, stick to the family routine and have some activities like watching a movie, reading a book, listening to music together, playing some social games,…
– Find out where your neighbors usually gather and join them. If there are some routines in your neighborhood, make yourself part of the team by introducing yourself properly. Explore the area and some local spots like shops, bars, restaurants and find out where the neighbors gather.
– Throw a housewarming party and invite both old and new friends/neighbors.
– In order to struck up an acquaintance with your new neighbors join the local clubs according to your personal interests. If you are not familiar with the local language, you can also attend a language course, where you are likely to meet other newcomers with a similar life situation. If you have moved there permanently, you don’t want to lose ties with your homeland.
– If you are interested in volunteering, find some local organizations and offer some help. Neighbors will certainly appreciate your kind gesture and you will get involved in the community affairs.
As soon as you accept your new culture and the fact that your lifestyle is changed you will feel relieved and comfortable in your new environment. Be open-minded and patient, because adapting to a foreign culture takes time. Be prepared to discover totally new world, no matter how much it may seem frightening.