Managing Cultural Shock when Moving Abroad

February 3, 2023

Landing in a new country is exciting and thrilling at the start but over time you may start feeling out of place and homesick as you adjust to a new way of life. This feeling of disorientation known as ‘culture shock’ is usually experienced by those who’re suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture. It’s like an avalanche of emotions you go through when you need to acclimatise to a culture totally distinct from yours.

As a globetrotter and avid traveller, I have come across diverse cultures and grown appreciative of the fact that with the passage of time you learn to fit in. Keeping a positive attitude and open mind to learn the new is the most effective way to cope with culture shock overseas. Our company E-Movers, a top Dubai relocation company, has been relocating several individuals and families to countries across the globe and though initially our clients have expressed apprehensions to habituating to a distinct place, they’ve happily settled down. This article of mine is to help and encourage expats who have ventured on life abroad to settle down.

Studies have revealed that whenever any individual adjusts to life in a foreign land they go through the following stages:

Fascination: You go through a phase of excitement when you land in a new town. You’re interested to explore and know more about the place you intend to live.

Frustration: As you try to settle down you start seeing substantial differences between the way of life in your home country and the one you’re in now. This is where the real struggle arises like being unable to relate to their culture, food habits, language barriers and a feeling of being left out. The most negative emotions surface here, and communication difficulties trigger deep dissatisfaction, sadness, and feelings of incompetence. You also start feeling homesick at this point and may long to return to your homeland.

Doable: This stage is a rebound from stage two, where you come to terms that every place has its own cultural connotations, and you ought to accept, respect and cope with life abroad. Understanding grows here and you put efforts to learn the local language and culture as you get accustomed to interacting with multicultural people.

Enjoyment: Now that you’ve begun to attune to your new life, its starts to feel more like home. Slowly you develop a new attachment, while also making some good friends with localities. You go back to exploration and learning about the new town, it’s tourist spots, cuisines and rich history.

Now that you understand experiencing culture shock is necessary to transitioning on your journey abroad, with time and patience you’ll start loving your new life as the years pass by.

Chirantan Joshi, MD, E-Movers Group

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Disclaimer: The stories are a work of fiction based on facts. Identies and details may have been altered to suit the narrative.