Moving Overseas - The Same But DifferentOne of the biggest complaints that a foreigner will bring up about Americans is that they feel like they are the center of the universe. Everything that happens in the world revolves around them. And, to a certain degree, they would be correct. For this reason, among others, moving to a new culture overseas can be an extreme shock. If, however, a few simple steps are followed, and followed through on, an easier time can be had when moving into a new culture. Although these steps may vary from person to person think of them as kindergarten for the new arrival. If you have questions ask. A good place to start might be an international moving guide or a certified moving consultant for information on what general things to expect. Understand that you have every right to be excited about moving to a new culture so go slow as you work on:
It may be difficult as you go about moving to a new culture but realize that most cultures do not move at the same pace as the US. You are likely excited to finally be in your new place but go slow. Let the new place slowly find you. Take advantage of what you do know around the new house and make it work for you. If you like landscaping use what you know at the local nursery as a common tie. Get to know the people there a bit. Pointing and touching common items that will likely have similar names in a foreign language as in English is a great ice breaker.
Although your new culture may speak English, to a degree, be sure that they will have different customs. What may appear odd to an American might be common for your new neighbors. Before moving into your new home try to find out what some of these customs are. And be sure to research those potentially fatal areas of politics and religion before you step one foot on new soil.
Of course language or nuance is critical if you are to begin to blend in. Americans stand out like a sore thumb when moving to a new area. If you can at least make an effort with learning the language the locals will see that effort as at least an attempt and be willing to help. You may also want to get your kids into the language act when you prepare your children to move. They'll learn more quickly and can introduce you to other parents. Also, absolutely have a grasp on some phrases that will keep you moving in a conversation. "I am sorry, slower please", and the much needed "where is the?" is the place to start. Effort is what counts though.
Lastly, get out there and see what the new culture is all about. If you are moving for work, ask fellow employees for ideas while working on the language. Don't hole up in your home, get out there. Try going to the same places every day or at the same time during your schedule. A smile on your face and a need to learn goes a long way to making friends and breaking any culture shock you may have had.