While there are an infinite number of challenges to face when it comes to moving abroad, the truth is that many of us make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Yes there are different ways to live, of course people have different ideas of the lifestyle they want, and obviously general rules are not going to apply to everybody. However, if you respect your new country and use common sense you will find the transition abroad is often far easier than other people make it sound.
Here are 2 basic rules for living abroad that can do wonders and help you avoid culture shock and getting home sick.
Rule for Living Abroad #1- Make an Honest Effort to Learn the Language
There is a wide range of expats in the world and it is impossible to group them altogether. However, as you will notice when traveling, there are quite a few expats who will complain about racism, unfairness, paying more than locals for goods, and the attitude they get in certain situations.
While this does not apply to everybody, in most cases these people have run into these situations because they do not respect their new country or the people within it. Many Canadians, Americans and Europeans will whine and complain if immigrants come to their country without learning the local language, yet they are more than willing to do the same in return.
By practicing the language, engaging in basic conversation with locals and simply proving you respect the culture and the people, your transition into the community will be made far easier.
Even if you cannot grasp the language at all, the effort alone makes a very impressive point to the people around you.
Rule for Living Abroad #2- Live like the Locals
Many expats wonder why they get dirty looks from locals in their new country, or are forced to pay more for certain items like groceries. Yet, these are often the people driving around in supped up SUV’s, living in mansions, and spending frivolously.
If you turn your nose up at the lifestyle of the locals, then chances are you can expect them to do the same to yours.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t live an affluent life abroad if you have the money, it just means you still have to appreciate the people around you. There is no need to flaunt wealth, drive through local farms with your SUV or mock local food and instead head to McDonald’s.
Simply be aware of your surroundings and engage in the local culture, flavors and activities. Dance to the local music, sing out loud to the local songs, and attend local festivals and parties.
Living abroad is all about the experience and not always about sustenance. Remember that and your entire transition will be made much easier.
Respect those around you, whether you are broke or a king, try to blend in with the culture, no matter how weird it seems, and show that you are sincere about the country you are heading to.
If you make it obvious that you are only there for the tax breaks or cheap rent, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you are treating like an outsider.