It’s always interesting to visit a new country although many experience culture shock once they arrive. Even when you read about a new travel destination, living the experience can become a little more challenging than you thought. Some cultures will be completely different than yours and the way of life can be a little shocking too. So, how do you go about embracing a new culture?
Whether you will be visiting somewhere on holiday or for longer — a temporary or permanent move — tolerance and understanding are key. The ability to keep an open mind and embrace differences are essential. While it can be a tough adjustment to make, here are 5 tips that can help.
Embracing a new culture
Research, study, and learn about the country you are about to visit. The more you know about it before leaving, the easier it will be to adjust and to appreciate the differences. Learn the history and meaning behind their way of life.
Become acquainted with the traditions of the culture, and you will see they have great historical significance. You will find it to be, not only a different way of life from your own, but also a very interesting way of life and a great learning experience.
Upon arrival, connect with the people. Intercultural connections with a diverse group of people will help to give you a feeling of belonging.
You don’t have to forget your roots, just dive in and become acquainted with theirs. Visit museums and other areas of attraction that you are interested in to help you acquaint yourself with their roots.
Also, when traveling, do your best to stay with a family, a couchsurfing host or a hostel. This will provide you a sense of family and give you that space to connect with others and transition easily into the cultural difference. Sharing your own culture with others will also create that bond and understanding.
One of the best and simplest things you can do is to learn hello, thank you, and farewell in the language.
Cultural shock is an eye-opening experience. It exposes you to the problems a different culture may have, not just the blessings they enjoy. You will see and learn about the good and the bad.
Whether it be poverty, being overcrowded, or poor housing, you may find yourself involved in volunteering. Be open to giving a little of yourself and become involved in the community. An experience of this type will certainly make you count your blessings.
Also, teaching can also be an option. Some third world countries are open to volunteer English teachers or even crafts or other languages. Teaching in a local community will create such a strong bond that you’ll quickly forget about your cultural differences.
Making adjustments to a different culture doesn’t mean you have to leave your sense of identity behind. Search for foods you are familiar with or activities that you loved when at home.
Be it music, dance, food, reading or sports, you’re bound to find a way to connect and adjust. Once you’ve opened yourself up to a new culture, you may quickly realize that you’re not that different and you mostly enjoy the same basic things.
Whether you are visiting a new country or packing up and moving, you must make the choice sooner or later to accept the culture as your own.
Allow yourself to fall in love with the cultural values and historical significance. When you begin to accept the diverse group of people and their values, you will begin to embrace the culture and become a part of it. It’s like the phrase, “When in Rome….”
Do you have tips to overcome culture shock? In what ways have you succeeded in embracing a new culture? Please share in the Comments.