Ask any immigrant, and they will tell you, that the story doesn’t end with a visa, if anything that’s where the story begins. Once you arrive in your new home, the race is on to assimilate and integrate into your new environment, in fact being able to do so is paramount to your ability to thrive. If you’re reading this, chances are, you intend to immigrate or have maybe recently relocated and are in the process of chasing that opportunity. Whether you are going to study abroad, relocating for a job, or immigrating with your family, we want to help you make this transition with ease, so you can hit the ground running and thrive.
When it comes to immigrating, I guess the big question is – are you ready to adapt and integrate.
When you first move to a new country, where everything from language, culture, ways of life, norms, and expectations can be so different from back home, it could be overwhelming to adjust and sometimes the expectations you had before moving might leave a lot to be desired when compared to the reality. Social isolation and depression definitely major risks for any immigrant. This is why integration is very important.
Here are 5 tips to help you adapt to a new Country
1. Be open-minded. Expect differences.
It is guaranteed that things are going to be different! Ever heard the saying, “There’s no place like home”? Well, that's because there really is no place like home… So, the first tip is to be open-minded and anticipate these differences. Maintaining a positive attitude when you come into contact with these differences will help you open up to trying new things and accepting new ideas.
Whatever you do, try not to fall into the trap of comparing or judging everything based on how it is back home. One of the most common comparisons people make is that of currency, it might be tempting to convert every single purchase you make to the local currency of your home country just so you can tell if it’s a bargain or a rip-off, but thinking this way will mostly leave you frustrated and disappointed.
Coach’s tip-At the end of the day, realize this: it is not better or worse, it is just different.
2. hang out with local people
To live like a local, you will of course want to hang out with local people too. As the saying goes, “your network is your net worth” and if your goal is to get ahead in your new home country, you will have to get to work as soon as possible building that network. Your local friends can teach you many things about your new home country, from written laws, rules and regulations to attitudes and mindsets that will help you get ahead faster. Local friends are an asset in that, they give you access to information and resources that would otherwise take you years to figure out using trial and error.
Having local friends also significantly increases your sense of belonging in the local community. As an immigrant, one of the best feelings after moving to a new place is the feeling of acceptance and belonging, and having a broad network of friends you can count on greatly increases these feelings.
Coach’s tip -Take the initiative, instead of expecting the locals to invite you into their circles, why not reach out and ask. Try to engage your roommates, classmates, or colleagues and invite them to do some activities together.
3. Talk the talk and walk the walk!
As we already established in tip 2, you will learn a lot from your local friends, So you might want to pay attention to the way they communicate! Effective communication can build a bridge between where you are and where you would like to be. So learn the way of the locals when it comes to both verbal language and non-verbal language and mannerisms. These will give your communication skills a sharp edge and help you grow your network. As the saying goes, “your network is your net worth.” Being well-connected in your new community will open avenues for beneficial opportunities that will foster your growth.
Coach's tip - Learn the local language, EVEN IF THEY SPEAK ENGLISH! Knowing some basic phrases helps you feel at ease and make friends in everyday situations
4. Hang out with other internationals
It is one thing to blend in with locals so that you can live like a local, but it is another thing to find someone who understands what it means to be foreign, so of course, hanging out with other internationals will help with your sense of identity. Make friends with other immigrants, both physically and virtually. These are people who have been through similar challenges, culture shock and difficult emotions associated with living away from home. They have been there or are right there with you on this journey. When you have questions or need some advice, they are your tribe!
5. Give yourself time
You already know this, but you still beat yourself up about your progress so, I want to reassure you – it just takes time. Moving from one country to another — no matter how old/ young you are, how close/far, or how similar/ different the cultures are — is a big task. It takes time to adjust and reorient yourself. It’s a cycle, and everyone goes through the transition at their own pace. Some days you may feel like you are in flow; you’re curious and eager to try new things; other days, you may feel stuck, homesick and lonely. Just know that these feelings are all normal and part of the journey.
Coach’s tip - don’t be hard on yourself and most of all don’t compare yourself to anyone. We are all on a separate path.