How to handle culture shock as an expat?

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Relocation is always stressful. And even when you move from one area of the city, changes can be different. So, how to handle culture shock as an expat? As an international moving expert our company can give you a few useful tips. Let’s start!

What to do if you don’t know how to handle culture shock as an expat?

If you’re not sure how to handle culture shock as an expat, you’re not alone. Even if you moved several times in your life, let’s say that moving to France from USA can be challenging in a different way. And a drastically different lifestyle than a person suddenly comes to can be daunting. Don’t beat yourself up if you have feelings of confusion, isolation, and even frustration. This is completely normal and is often described as a culture shock.

couple - handle culture shock as an expat
Reflecting positive energy is one of the ways to handle culture shock as an expat.

Common symptoms of culture shock:

  • Excessive nostalgia, fatigue, nervousness, anxiety, isolation,
  • Frequent correspondence or inviting family members or friends home,
  • Not enough or too much sleep,
  • Frequent crying or feeling sad
  • Feelings of resentment towards the new environment even if you decided to retire abroad
  • Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin
  • Reluctant towards socializing with other people

The problem is that culture shock happens suddenly. You might be too busy trying to find the best international moving companies NYC to even notice how you feel. It even makes the whole situation and your idea that you came here to enjoy and do something nice for yourself quite difficult. If you feel unhappy or sad, try to identify the cultural differences or situations that make you feel this way. Consider different ways to overcome these feelings and try to find things that make you happy. It is important to know that you will only feel like this for a certain period of time.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Your race doesn’t matter,
  2. Nor your religion,
  3. Your age doesn’t matter,
  4. The only thing that matters is for you to feel good.

This means that you are responsible for yourself. People in a new environment can be very direct and honest, even though it may seem rude to people from other cultures. It may surprise you how people from other countries like to joke, laugh and talk.

It is important to know that you will only feel like this for a certain period of time.

The population of the United States is very diverse and dynamic. Plan ahead, get an idea and picture of where you will be and how much time you will spend in that place. Look for the best international services to help you relocate. If you can, consider the option of traveling here before you move. This option can be safer and more comfortable, although again not for everyone.

Accept how you feel

The first step in fighting culture shock as an expat is accepting what you are feeling. Don’t hide under the covers, but also don’t force yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Handling cultural shock is not an easy job. So, create a balance and go for something that makes you feel good.

Keep an open mind and a sense of humor

Americans like to talk, laugh and joke. Even though you hear from them something you might not hear from people in your country, that doesn’t mean they are weird or inaccessible. Try new things and try to appreciate the cultural differences you encounter.

Talk about it

You don’t have to hide the fact that for the first few weeks abroad you don’t feel as you expected. It will only make you feel even more isolated. Instead, find someone you want to talk to, try talking to other people or colleagues from abroad. Such conversations with someone who is in the same situation as you will strengthen the relationships you create. It will also help the symptoms of culture shock to pass faster.

Stay positive – but not at all cost

Don’t force yourself to be positive all the time. But do try to stay open-minded and embrace changes with a smile. You have come to learn and experience new things. Try to speak English as much as possible. It may be difficult at first, but with regular practice, you will get into shape. As you learn, you will feel safer and interaction with other people will become easier and easier. A new world of possibilities and experiences will open up to you.

Sometimes, you can’t say what you think or maybe you think you have no one to say it to.

Keep a diary

It may seem like a childish idea to you, but you won’t believe how much it will help you get rid of what you think. Sometimes, you can’t say what you think or maybe you think you have no one to say it to. When you keep a diary, you will feel as if the burden that is bothering you is somehow lighter.

Take care of your health

When you feel stressed, close your eyes and relax with some music. Or go out and take a walk, read, or bike. Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Take vitamins to stay healthy and wash your hands often. It may seem silly, but these are all things that can help you stay healthier – both in your mind and your body.

The worst mistake you can make is to close yourself. If you are silent most of the time or just stick to yourself, it will make you further isolated and alienated from the new environment. You may be uncomfortable with your behavior at first (normal) and even feel nervous. However, you will quickly notice that people will be patient and positive when talking to you. Everyone will admire you for your willingness and desire to improve.

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