People move location for many varied reasons. Employment, financial situation, relationships, career, study, adventure and more.
No matter the reason, culture shock is a very real challenge of a move beyond your ‘comfort zone’ to a new town, new state or new country.
Here are the experiences and insights of 10 people who moved to a new location, with links so you may read more of the stories that resonate:
Simone, her fiancé and 6-year-old son became homeless after she lost her job. A local program helped in finding a shelter and then a new apartment at a discounted cost. The experience of homelessness was something the family never thought they would experience. According to KidsHealth.org, maintaining a positive attitude is the best thing a parent can do for children during this type of move.
Emily blogged about their decision to move the family from a modern town in north-eastern United States to Costa Rica. Although it was a culture shock, she said the slower pace was good for the family and they quickly absorbed the culture.
Stefanie was excited about her move when she contributed to What’s Your Reason for Moving? She, her son and her mother were moving from a larger city to a smaller town. She was aware of the differences, and happy with the prettier scenery and hometown feel. She was concerned about her son’s reaction until he told her he was on board with the plan.
Selidbe wrote on the same blog about her experience moving from California to Wisconsin. The move was for a better job for her husband and she believes it was a good choice, with great schools, nice neighbourhood and low crime, but still feels guilty about uprooting their kids to a completely different environment.
Maria of MariaAbroad.com has a lot of experience living abroad, however found when she moved to China to stop making assumptions. Every place is different. She says the best thing about living abroad and adapting to a new culture is what you make of it.
A teen wrote on a US Department of State website about the culture shock he experienced when he moved back to America to attend high school after attending schools in Europe. He found he was not really treated as an American, even though he was born in the US – ‘I’m thought an oddity’. He also said it was hard to make friends, but learned that silly things like accepting a nickname helped break the ice.
Another teen writing on the same website explains life as a youth with Foreign Service parents. She said the first few weeks in France were terrible because she didn’t know the language and didn’t have any friends. She was happy to be returning to America, knowing she faced another culture shock after her extended stays in Europe.
Others aren’t so happy to be in the US because of the cultural differences. One, who was born in Kenya and raised in West Africa said he still hasn’t become used to the US culture after two years. He said people seem more unique overseas, while everyone is expected to fit in in the US.
David wrote on a blog by Derek Sivers about his quick decision to move from the US mainland to Hawaii. Originally from Ohio, David had already lived in California, New Orleans, and New York City, as well as Norway, but he was interested to note with Hawaii nothing is the same as the mainland, including language, plants, weather, customs, values and music.
Hannah wrote an email published on the same blog about her family’s decision to move from Chicago to a little stone house 40 minutes south of Paris. It was a leap of faith, and ‘the details have one by one settled into place …. I am grateful daily’.
No matter where you are from or where you move to, there are going to be differences. How you deal with these depends on your mindset. These strategies will help:
- be open to learning new customs and doing things a different way
- welcome new people into your life so they can share their local insights
- challenge yourself to something new every day
- enjoy something familiar every day
- write about your experiences, via social media, a journal or emails to friends and family at home
- learn the language or local lingo
- be kind to yourself, ask your inner self-critic to be gentle and supportive
- know that you’ll understand this new place better with every passing day
- finally, know that it may take days, weeks, months, even years to resettle – small steps will get you there
Where would you move to?
If you’ve already moved, what did you find to be the biggest challenges? How did you surmount them?
Comment below or on social media using the buttons.
Chosen for #MyGlobalLife Link-Up, a selection of globally-themed blog posts at Small Planet Studio!