Updated: Feb 16, 2021
Adapting to a New Culture
I'm all a-boat the culture over here. It's ALWAYS going to be the puns for me 🤪
• Moving across the world to a new place where you don't know the culture, language, or people can be intimidating. Adapting to a new culture is definitely a trial and error situation. The best thing to do is to actually immerse yourself.
Making the active choice to immerse into a new culture is easier said than done. When living abroad it is much easier to connect with other expats and form your community with people with similar backgrounds. Networking with people that speak your native language or come from your original country is a much easier task. Having friends that can relate to craving soul food and understand slang can definitely be a source of comfort while living abroad. The problem is you don't want to completely isolate yourself from the local community.
Taking the time to learn basic phrases in the local language and study the different customs is essential. Making connections with locals is by far the fastest way to learn about and gain exposure to the culture. While in Italy, my host family taught me SO MUCH about Italian culture as well as some dos and donts. In Senegal, my students and friends put me on game to various aspects of the Senegalese way of life. Here in Korea, I've learned how to add the honorific (sign of respect) when soaking to people and a lot of drinking/eating customs from friends and coworkers.
Some great way to adapt and integrate into the new environment is to go to local events, join language and culture exchange groups and getting on the apps. Building relationships can be difficult with the language barrier and other obstacles, but it's not impossible. Making friends is also a great way to accelerate the process of learning the language. Take it from me.
Adapting to a new culture is an ongoing process and definitely doesn't happen over night. Diving in and keeping an open mind are the best ways to learn and understand the new way of life. Don't get stuck in the foreigners bubble & make time to appreciate all the culture around you has to offer 🙌🏾