Culture shock and expat integration



Having to adjust to a new home, in a new country, can be a challenging task even for the most adventurous and cocksure individual. Being thrust into an entirely different country with an entirely different culture can be jarring, even if you are approaching the move with the utmost of excitement.

Culture Shock

If you are travelling on your own then it will be important to thrust yourself into the new culture, a vitally important aspect of this procedure will be language. Assuming you will be travelling to a country where English is not the native language, getting a grasp of the local tongue will assist you tremendously. Obviously becoming an overnight linguist is not easily achievable, but with a bit of prior research you will be able to at least learn a few key phrases that may greatly help you in day to day tasks such as grocery shopping and even just getting around the new city.

Also, while it’s important to immerse yourself in your new surroundings, remember to keep in touch with friends and family back home, otherwise you may end up feeling too detached from your old life. A short email, a quick phone call, little things such as this will help chase away homesickness and culture shock.


The key to settling in is integration. Get to know the place, stroll around and take in the local sights. Explore your local area and develop a good awareness of your new surroundings, that way you won’t be left wanting if you fancy dinner in a restaurant, a local drink or a pack of cigarettes late at night. Another route to successful integration is by establishing good relationships with your new peers and colleagues. Take chances to socialise and make friends, especially at work social events.

Taking these early steps will go a long way to ensuring your time as an expat in your new country will be successful and rewarding. Even if there are hurdles to scale, your overall experience should be positive. Becoming an expat is, for many people, the first page of an exciting new chapter of life. Research has shown that expatriates develop better skill s in terms of global awareness and are better at dealing with new challenges and situations out of the comfort zone. Certainly, there’s no doubt that a stint working abroad improves your standing in the eyes of potential employers. Remember, the key points are a sensible degree of financial planning, maintaining a good balance of work and leisure time, and most importantly to keep an open mind to whatever your new culture throws at you.