Understanding a new culture and taking its bearings in a foreign country are a balance between adaptation to a different environment and preserving its original identity ... Successful integration in the host country is one of the main challenges of expatriation. Many expatriates believe understanding the culture of the country is the main factor for a successful integration.
Here are 6 key points:
1. Learn the language of the country.
Whether you have an almost total lack of knowledge of the local language or you only have a few basics, you will inevitably face the language barrier. With the knowledge of English, you will be able to "get by" in many non-English speaking countries. However, this stragegy will not be sufficient in the long run. Beyond mere convenience, mastering the language of the country of expatriation is an undeniable integration vector. Efforts to speak in a language that is not yours also change the way you are perceived or received abroad.
Learning the language can start well before expatriation but it can be done once on site, in full immersion. If you are a complete beginner, you should take classes. To each his own methods to learn, to improve or become bilingual: take intensive courses, watch TV and read the local press, participate in group activities and, of course, sign up for a Polyglot Club event
2. Become a Polyglot Club organizer
By being in charge of a Polyglot Club network, you will make a lot of friends rapidely. As a language exchange event organizer you meet many local who want to learn English or other languages. You will also meet other expats who want to learn different languages.
Create a new meeting now !
3. Explore the country, your city, your neighborhood.
And if to really discover a new place, you had to get lost a little? To feel at home in your country of expatriation, you do not simply have to memorize your home-office route or visit the famous monuments like a passing tourist. Move gradually away from the major tourist circuits through the city together with friends who have been there for a long time. Understanding the specifics of a country or identify your favorite addresses require some efforts.
4. Adopt the local lifestyle.
Hardly have you put your bags in Thailand that you rush into a specialized supermarket trying to find there the products you used to consume in your home country. Expatriate in the United States for a few months, you basically look at the foreign television channels that are familiar to you, you are interested very closely to the expat community, you spend hours on Skype ... If this operation can be reassuring in a first, it does not facilitate your integration into your new home.
You have to live the culture and experience it. Curiosity becomes your best ally. Stay away from time to time from your expat friends, taste the local dishes, attend cultural events, get familiar with the various codes of politeness ... In other words, accept to be surprised. The goal is not to become someone else and adhere to all local habits, but to actually experience the culture of the country in which you live.
5. Build a social life.
Would the ability to make contact with both locals and other expatriates be a determining factor in the success of expatriation? A newcomer may learn much from both parties. Get along with expatriates who already have a step back on their experience in the country will not only avoid a possible isolation on arrival but also provide you with practical advice: efforts to open a bank account, registered doctors, health system, selection of an insurance, schools, renewal of work permits ... Locate expatriate networks and associations and ... exchange! Again, the Polyglot Club network
will be of great help : contact members through the website, attend all kind of social events.
Establish links with locals. It will increase your knowledge of the country and will strengthen your feeling of belonging.
Depending on the country, it is more or less difficult to be able to meet the local people but enter all opportunities: club activities, school trips, business environment, friends of friends ...
6. Maintain links with your country of origin.
Expatriation certainly changes the way you look at your own country. However, adapting does not mean giving up to its own culture. The challenge lies in managing to build a kind of double culture. So it is best to keep in touch with friends and family that you often have temporarily left behind. Chat via social networks, exchanging mails, return from time to time in your country ... These efforts also help mitigate the impact of the return from abroad.