In my opinion, having done it twice, living some time in a foreign country is one of the most enriching experiences one can have, even when this experience is not as simple as we thought and is not free of difficulties.
When we pack our bags we tend to fill them with illusion and we concentrate on all the positive things that this new adventure will bring us. Learning a new language, new friends, all the places we are going to visit, the trips we are going to take… but rarely do we think of all the obstacles that we may find on the way to achieving our goals.
Upon arriving to that new place, we are wishing to explore the city, the people and their peculiarities, the gastronomy, the parties… everything about the new and exciting destination. In this time, we typically experience what is called the “Honeymoon phase”: a phase when everything seems marvelous and we feel euphoria, enthusiasm, curiosity and fascination for the new country in which we find ourselves and for its culture. We should not forget that not everyone goes through this phase and that there are people who, from the beginning, may suffer difficulties which we will detail next.
After some time, after the Honeymoon Phase has passed, we may start to really miss many of the things we have left behind in our country of origin. We may feel that all which initially was attractive and marvelous about our new place is starting to interest us much less. Perhaps we even start to perceive some of the things we previously liked from this new culture in a negative way once we start to really appreciate the differences between our home culture and the one in which we find ourselves currently. This is called “culture shock” and it is a totally normal phase during the process of adaptation.
Some of the things that can occur during this phase are, for example, that we feel tired and irritated for being obligated to speak in a new language, that we get frustrated when we are unable to understand what is happening or what is being said to us in a situation or even that we have to adapt to the formalities of a new culture. We start to magnify the negatives of the new place where we live, to feel a bit down and even without interest in continuing the experience.
Overcoming these difficulties is at times complicated but, believe me, it is worth it to try! Living in a new country not only makes you discover a new place, a new culture and new people- it also will help you discover yourself. It will make you more flexible, independent and resolved. Since it is worth trying, here are some tips that can help you overcome some of the difficulties you may have to face during your adventure: