When you move abroad, chances are, the culture and the lifestyle you’re moving into are somewhat different from the one you might know at home. Living abroad comes with plenty of challenges, one of which includes broadening your mind and expanding your knowledge on the culture you are now living in. The second challenge is to actually immerse yourself in that culture – and that can sometimes be much harder than expected. Here’s how you can immerse yourself in a new culture when you move abroad!
How to Immerse Yourself in a New Culture when Living Abroad
1. Open your mind
When I first moved to the UK, my mind was already full of prejudice about the British life. I had to constantly remind myself that these were just stereotypes and they don’t actually represent how the British live.
Coming to London meant I had to open my mind and leave all that prejudice behind in order to truly embrace this culture. It took a long time before I was able to understand the British sense of humour and dive into the history of the British culture to fully understand the functionalities of the society. I might have gushed about certain things as a foreigner, but living in the UK allowed me to also see a different side and have a discourse on the pros and cons of the way the UK functions.
Opening your mind will help you understand and accept the culture you’re going to live in – because coming in with a prejudice will make it that much harder to fully immerse yourself in the community.
2. Don’t speak your language
I first came to the UK as an au pair – and I immediately noticed that au pairs would hang out in groups and they’d only speak their mother tongue to make themselves feel more comfortable. While there’s nothing wrong with having a clique, you will never truly immerse yourself in the culture if you don’t learn the language of the of the country you’re living in and expand your network of friends to locals.
Many seem to think this is easier said than done and often, people postpone language learning due to work obligations or clashes with their schedule. Luckily, you can now schedule Skype lessons and learn your chosen language at your own pace and at your own time.
3. Erase the fears
Just like you should erase any prejudice, it’s important to erase any fears you might have about coming into a new culture. This includes fears about dealing with any paperwork, social life, or any day-to-day activity that might seem scary in a new culture. Luckily for you, there are plenty of ways you can reduce that stress. For example, if you’re stressing out over apartment hunting in your chosen city, you can always check out Spotahome where you can rent and view an apartment right from the comfort of your home.
You can also find plenty of online guides, such as this equality ranking which will help you to better understand the mindset of the society you’re moving into and the quality of life in your chosen destination.
It’s also worth noting that immersing yourself in a certain culture might be easier depending on the Immigrant Acceptance rate, which is available for almost every European country. With an overview on the equal opportunity issues, you’ll be able to have a peace of mind that life in a new culture isn’t at all as scary as it sounds!
How did you immerse yourself in a new culture and what challenges have you faced along the way? Let us know in the comments!