Moving to a new country can be very demanding - there is not only the physical removal to organise, but also a new accommodation to find, a new job, perhaps a new school or university, perhaps a new language to learn. Not to mention the strain of leaving behind friends, family and familiarity.
And furthermore there is the new culture. A culture is not simply the visible things; it is also all the subconscious programming of beliefs and values we carry with us, which makes us have certain habits, which makes us interpret things in a certain way, which makes us give certain meanings to behaviours, which makes us judge behaviours as normal or acceptable. This is true both for business and in day-to-day life.
And if we are to make the relocation successful, we need to have cross-cultural awareness, we need to understand something about the new culture and have a strategy in place to deal with any difficulties we may face, and a strategy which enables us to live a truly happy and fulfilling life in the new country.
What often happens is that we are not aware of our own culture, of the influence our own culture has on us, until we move abroad. And so we do not really know what our culture is, how our culture has moulded our subconscious beliefs, values, responses and reactions. And when we move abroad, we then realise the new culture is different: there might be things we like and things we do not like, sometimes we might feel misunderstood, sometimes even hurt; we might be unable to understand other people or their customs. And this might cause us to feel uncomfortable, lonely, anxious and even depressed. It might lower our self-confidence and our self-esteem, and it might cause us to behave in a way that is not 'us', just because we need to feel accepted in the new culture.
Cultural problems might be perhaps more evident if we relocate on our own, but they're also there if we move with our family and they might create a strain in the relationship, as maybe one might not see it as a difficulty and the other might feel unsupported.
Over the years we have developed some coaching tips to help you relocate successfully and we thought we might share some with you. Here they are:
1. Know Who You Are
It is very important to know who you are, your values, your beliefs, and know the beliefs and values from your own culture. This will help you remain confident in who you are and do what is right for you; it will help you remain true to yourself, even if you feel misunderstood or even not respected. It might be that some people are not aware of how cross-cultural differences work and they might make assumptions on your behaviours or might stereotype you, but if you know who you truly are, that will not bother you. The more comfortable you are in yourself, the more successful your relocation is going to be.
2. You Are Not in the New Country to Change Their Culture!
Sometimes we do not like certain things and we would like to change them, but it really does not work that way. We are guest in their culture, we need to be true to ourselves and be grateful to the hosting people for all they offer us.
3. Do Not Judge!
It is very important not to judge anybody or anything we do not like. And it is very important not to have assumptions or stereotype the people in the new country. Just truly respect everyone. There is no right or wrong, it is simply different. As we mentioned above, we simply have some subconscious different beliefs and values, and as you learn what is acceptable or not in the new culture, you will feel more comfortable being yourself and at the same time respecting the differences.
4. Gratitude and Look Only at the Positive
We need to look at what we like and ignore what we do not like, and be grateful for what we have, in order to feel comfortable in the new culture. In fact, very simply put, what we focus on increases in our neurology and we manifest more of it. This is simply metaphysics. Now, if we focus on what we do not like, we create more of it and we feel more and more uncomfortable. If you do not like something, look at the best in it; if you do not like somebody, orient yourself to the best in that person. And you will feel good.
5. Know What You Want
We need to be clear of the direction of our life, of the life we would like to create and live in the new country. If we do not have this clarity, we tend to shift our focus to what we do not like. If we have this focus, our all energy will be in creating the life would make us the happiest.
6. Do What You Enjoy
Doing what we enjoy will keep us positive and keep our energy high. It will enable us to look at what we like in the country and ignore what we do not.
7. Spend Time with People You Like
Spending time with people you do not like will bring your energy down and will make you focus on what you do not like. On the other end, spending time with people you like will keep you positive.
8. Putting It All Together!
And so, as you let go of all judgements and live with lightness, you are true to yourself, do what you enjoy and create the life you want, and you are appreciative and grateful, you will feel at home in your new country.