The hardest part about living in a new country is adapting to a different way of thinking, working, and processing. You are re-training your mind and body to a new rhythm. We had been so used to the system back home that we forget about the cultures beyond our own. Take me, for instance.
I had the privilege to study and work in Singapore for 5 years. Believe me when I say that the change was not easy at first. You see, I did not know anybody else aside from my family and my parents’ work friends.
I was not knowledgeable about the places to purchase the best Filipino meals in town. Nor do I know how to get from point A to B without using a taxi. I felt like a clueless baby learning how to crawl in its first months. And that frustrated me!
Soon enough, I began to realize that I was in a stage of “culture shock” and I need to move past it. During the culture shock stage I experienced homesickness, stress about the small problems, and negative feelings about Singapore’s culture. The awareness of the situation help me to make decisions that lead me to the final stage – gradual adjustment.
I am not alone as many people had been trapped in these stages before. To help you ease through the transitions, here are 6 Effective Ways To Cope With The Life Abroad:
1. Admit your current situation
Whether your purpose is to study or work abroad, you are going to start a fresh chapter. You will be introduced to new people, new food, new streets, and new experiences.
Embrace that fact!
It is not a sign of vulnerability to admit that you feel nervous, scared, uncomfortable, or confused about the move. In fact, it is healthier to admit your current situation to analyze your reactions. Upon spotting the negative thoughts, try to wheel it back into positivity.
2. Research about their culture and rules
Instead of relocating with a blind eye, research and understand the local culture and rules of Australia, New Zealand, or any place that you are moving to. Are their practices better or worse than ours? Are the pedestrians only allowed to walk on the left or right side of the road?
Know all these things to prevent future penalties and embarrassing experiences.
3. Read about their work practices
If you are moving to a new country due to work, it is best to read about the local work practices. Perhaps there is a strict dress code at work similar to Saudi Arabia or maybe you have to do tasks beyond your job description like in Singapore.
Gain this information by reading business books and blogs. You can also ask for personal work experiences of others. Start by opening the list of your Facebook/LinkedIn friends and look for the people who worked in the place you are moving to. Then, strike a conversation with them. You will be surprised with how much you can learn by simply asking the right questions.
4. Learn about their native language
Understanding the native language of a country is handy especially if you will be living there for a period of time. I suggest you Google the translation for these statements:
Do you speak English?
Sorry, I do not understand you.
Where is the toilet room?
I am lost and I need help.
Where can I get something to eat?
Knowing some statements will help you adjust easier. Moreover, locals will appreciate your effort to communicate with them in their language even if you learned a few phrases. As the months go by, you may consider joining social groups that focus on learning the local language.
5. Take good care of yourself
No matter how homesick you are about the Philippines, do not take your health for granted. It will only take a toll on your expenses and life in general. So take the conscious effort to get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and stock up on your essentials.
Feeling good on the inside helps you to feel good on the outside!
6. Stay in touch with your loved ones
Staying in touch with your friends and family back home is an essential skill for coping with the life abroad. Thankfully, the world is a much smaller place now due to modern technology and communication options.
You can simply message your loved ones through Viber, WhatsApp, or Facebook. Also, you can mimic a face-to-face interactions through the video sessions on Skype and Facetime.
Despite these tech, you have to accept that some of your friends will not talk to you as much as before while others will make an effort to remain in your life. Treasure the latter as they are the ones whom you can trust for advice and comfort during your adjustment.
Aside from them, you can make new friends abroad. Find people who share the same interests or values as you through social media and develop a support system with them.