Preparing for Culture Shock and Homesickness
Preparing for Culture Shock and Homesickness Moving abroad can be a thrilling experience and at the same time it can be a challenging one. Often times when planning to move abroad we are excited about the new experience and other things we focus on preparing, and packing, and ignore the transitional distresses like culture shock and homesickness which comes with moving abroad. Preparing for culture shock and homesickness When you move abroad you enjoy the first few weeks “The honeymoon phase”. However, after sometime you start to experience culture shock in the form of homesickness, and loneliness, this is natural. It takes some time to settle in and adjust in your new host country. Here are 5 tips on how you can prepare for culture shock and homesickness. Learn the Local Language Your New Host Country Most times, language barrier is the major challenge afro Americans moving abroad struggle with, not being able to communicate with the locals of the country you move to can be frustrating. It is important learn the local language of the country so that life while living there will be much easier. Also you will be able to make new friends in your new host country as well. Prepare for a different climate Climate change is probably one of the least considered factors when we plan to move abroad. The climate of the country you are moving to can be totally different from the one you are familiar with in the US. Therefore make sure you do proper research about the weather and climate of the country you are moving to. Connect With Other Afro American Expats For most Afro Americans who move abroad, making friends with the locals can be an uphill task especially if you don’t know how to speak the local language, and loneliness can be a contributing factor to culture shock. One of the best ways to prepare and deal with a culture shock is to make friends with other expats in your new host country, by doing this you can establish a sense of community in the new country you move to and not feel like a total stranger. Be ready to immerse yourself in the culture of the host country Culture shock often stems from not being familiar with everything that is happening around you. When you move abroad, know that things will be done differently there, be ready to let yourself be completely immersed in the experience. Research and learn more about the way locals live in the country you are moving to. When moving abroad, you should be ready to let go of how things are done back in the US, and stop making comparisons as that will only add to your stress and make you more frustrated. Keep an open mind and see things from the perspective of your new neighbors. Know that how they act is influenced by their culture and background. Accept that adapting takes time and culture shock is inevitable Sometimes the best way to prepare for culture shock is to accept that it’s inevitable (deep, lol). Almost everyone who moves abroad will experience culture shock and homesickness. Accept that you’ll get homesick and realize that it takes time to adapt when you move to a foreign country, this way you keep your mind prepared and you can easily pass this phase when it comes. Personal Experience: On May 30, 2018, me and my little guy landed in Mexico City with our 4 pieces of luggage. Excited to be in our new home country, we hopped on our shuttle and arrived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, at our Airbnb four hours later. On June 1st we signed our 12 month lease and from there our journey began. During our first few days in SMA, we just chilled in El Centro, scoping out the town out together. A wave of peace and bliss washed over me as I watched my lil guy comfortably running and playing with other kids whenever the opportunity arose. Their need to communicate with each other humored me and made my heart warm. They exchanged words in English and Spanish and played anywhere possible. Kids are so easy this way. During the 1st few months of our move, we continued to stay on a high, but there were times when we felt like strangers. The language being our biggest challenge. Our 1st grocery shopping was almost comedic. I thought I knew some Spanish until I arrived in aisle 2, 3, 4 and so on... Things were set up differently and I barely recognized the brands on the shelves. Also, my son was missing South FL and felt left out by some of the neighborhood kids from time to time, however over all, he was accepted and has a ruse of friends he plays with to date. These are all normal processes/emotions everyone goes through in a new home country. Overall, it was very easy for us to try this city on, and keep it on. It’s been good to us. Things come together with good planning and execution. Need help sculpting your move?
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