Communicating in a Foreign Country

The Impact of moving to or spending time in a foreign country exposes you to a range of emotions
Frustration, Confusion, sadness, anxiety even anger at times. This is known as a culture shock (moving from a familiar culture to an unfamiliar one). The following phrase could be seen as the silver lining to some! Culture shock can be good for you.

There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humour.
George Santayana, ‘The Philosopher of Travel’

Climate, Food, Language, Dress, Values, Etiquette and behaviour can all be contributing factors to culture shock and cause mixed emotion when trying to communicate in a foreign country.
It is important for you to remember that all of these emotions are entirely normal, they are nothing to feel embarrassed about and are usually considered unavoidable.

Becoming familiar with the host culture in preparation for your journey can be of benefit to you when you get where you’re going. When you firstly arrive, you will obviously be feeling an almost state of euphoria however this feeling may end once the novelty has worn off. Coping with the simple aspects of day to day life may suddenly become foreign.

Keep in mind that the culture will become familiar and you will begin to associate with familiar people and some of the same cultural background as yourself.

You will begin to adapt and learn how to function in your new environment and perhaps you may even start to feel a part of it.

When you return back to your hometown after your adventure you will quickly realise how you have changed, your old values remain however you may find you have acquired more from your experiences, so embrace this change and enjoy you will soon be back on familiar ground, and this will be a memory.

Despite your current emotions, culture shock is a vital part of growth so Broaden your Horizons and remember that the experience will help you better understand your own cultural values and biases, give you more confidence, continue to influence your actions with different cultures, inspire greater maturity and assist in developing a more mature way of looking at the world.

All in all, some key points to adapting to a possible rough landing and assisting you in overcoming the communication barrier
• Stay Grounded
• Cook home comforts
• Get active
• Stay connected
• Challenge yourself
• Make friends


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