I decided to move to a new country at the age of 17. I moved away to pursue my higher education away from home. The decision to go abroad is normal for many students worldwide who thrive on getting a better education and experience in an industrial country.
Living in a new country changes one in more ways than they like to admit. Moving to a neighboring country can be challenging, so imagine the challenge people face when they move to a different part of the world.
I moved from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Germany back in 2003. My initial plan was to study here and go back to the UAE. However, life sometimes has a different plan for us. It is 2020, and I’m still in Germany. Actually, I call it home now.
When you move to a new country, you have to consider changes in your new life. Some are challenging, but others, on the other hand, are really awesome. So, here is my list of 4 things to consider when you move to a new country without further ado.
№1: Acclimate yourself
When you are in a new country, everything around you will eventually be different. Even the closest people to you are now not around. The sad fact is that you will lose most of your old friends now that you are away. Only the most robust relations will prevail.
However, family ties will grow stronger and more mature, now that you are not seeing your family as often as you used to. Try to plan a day and time to facetime; they and yourself will appreciate the time you spend talking to each other.
Modern social media and messaging apps will help you stay in touch for sure. Still, after a certain period of time, the relationship will become flat — You are not around anymore to talk about the recent updates and gossips.
Also, the new country comes with new social rules. Take the time to understand the new country's social rules and climate yourself to these new social rules. What was acceptable in your home country might be unacceptable here and vice-versa.
If you weren’t previously familiar with the host country’s language, learn it as fast as possible. This is not an easy task, especially if you moved at an older age, but it is crucial to get out of your comfort zone and try speaking the new language.
Don’t feel ashamed or afraid to make mistakes in the new language. People will appreciate you for trying, and they will be more than happy to help you learn the new language. Do not get frustrated when the time passes by, and you are still making beginners’ mistakes, learning a new language is not an easy task.
Loneliness will be your worst enemy in the beginning. It is ok to feel lonely and homesick, but do not let these feelings drag you deep under. Loneliness may lead to depression, and these emotions are hazardous. Focus on the goal rather than focusing on the current situation. Please go out and meet new people; that is my best advice in such a situation.
Know all the necessary administrative steps you need to take before and after moving to a new country. Do your diploma or any other legal documents require attestation? Do you need a visa? What about a bank account? What about accommodation? It will take a lot of patience and will cost a lot of money to get everything done.
№2: Keep ties
Since you are in a new country with a new culture, language, and habits, it is important to keep ties with your “old” culture, language, and habits. Maintaining ties with the old heritage culture does not mean blocking the new culture completely; you are now in a perfect situation to combine two cultures, and the output is your own culture.
You can keep ties by following your home country news, trending topics on Twitter, new music releases, and pop culture. Losing a connection with your heritage country can be dangerous and might cause a mild identity crisis.
For example, I read the local news in the UAE every day on my commute to work, I’m subscribed to Arabic music playlists on Spotify and Youtube, I scan Twitter for trending topics every now and then, and I ask my sister to recommend new Arabic TV shows or movies whenever I feel like watching something in Arabic.
Streaming services are filled with content from all over the world. Netflix has many international series, movies, and cartoons. Netflix also offers multiple languages in their shows. YouTube Music, Spotify, and Apple Music have global playlists for the newest and trending music.
№3: learn acceptance
Believe it or not, once you are in a new country, you’ll notice that people do not always act the way you are used to in your home country — And that is okay.
People have different habits than you are used to. They eat at different times, they do not do siesta, sweet popcorn might be the only thing sold in movie theaters, or nudity might be the norm in saunas.
One cannot expect that the entire world acts unanimously, cultural differences between countries are a normal thing. It is up to you to accept the new norm.
Accepting the new norm does not mean you are a sell-out. If you don’t want to participate, it is fine, and people will accept that. However, learn to accept that others will do things differently.
As an example, nudity is the norm in saunas in Germany. I can choose not to go to saunas because this norm weirds me out. However, I have to accept that others are doing it, and I shouldn’t fight their way of life.
№4: Promote yourself
People are excited that you are around. They want to learn about you and the place you came from. They might have misconceptions and stereotypical ideas about your home country. Now, it is your time to promote the right idea about your home country — and believe me; people will love it.
People are willing to learn new things if they have the chance to. Be the promoter for your home country, and allow the new people in your life to get the right picture from you.
Invite them over for dinner and cook them a traditional meal with suitable music from your country as well. Tell them about life in your country and how you and your friend spend your weekdays and weekends. Invite them to visit your country when you fly to visit your family and play the tour guide.
People will tell their friends what they learned from you, and the positive ripple effect will expand beyond your expectations.
Living abroad is a wonderful experience that many of us undertake in their life. Whether for study, work, or just for time away, people leave their home countries more frequently to pursue the adventure somewhere new.
Living abroad changes your perspective and allows you to learn a new culture and a new way of life.
So, When are you planning to live abroad for some time?
Walid Al Otaibi -WAO- is a top writer in Gaming. He works at an engineering company in Germany. He comes from a multicultural background and is located in Germany since 2003. He is writing about Arab Culture, Multiculturalism, Finance, and Trending topics.