Starting new chapters away from our nest is often exciting, but some realities hit home harder than we anticipated. While we and those around us are equally excited for the new opportunity and the open possibilities, moving to a new country does have some not so great sides. It affects everyone, an HST Lawyer Toronto expat to an ESL teacher in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, there are things one can learn to navigate or accept it’s what it means to start a new life elsewhere.
Keeping touch with loved ones
Time zones are a significant hindrance in communicating. There are cases where one would have to wake up super early and the other sleep just as late to make time to chat. There is usually willingness on either side, but the practicalities are what prove to be difficult. Each person does need to live their life. It is in such cases that it becomes difficult to keep in touch with friends and family or maintain a long distance relationship.
Having a support system
Unless you are moving to a country where you have close friends and family, you will be hard pressed to immediately find a group of people supporting you when settling in. In difficult times when dealing with culture shock and standing out and not in the best way, second-guessing your choice becomes natural. It ought not to derail you. That is a normal feeling to have, one that will pass as you create circles of dependable friends. The best are those who are foreigners so you can share experiences. You will feel alone, but just for a bit.
In some case, you will be forced to do what the locals do if you are to fit in or even find a chance of getting friends especially if they are no other expats around. Some cultures are conservative, and you would have to adopt them for people to be comfortable enough to approach you. It is about learning to walk the balance of respecting one’s culture and remaining true to oneself and cultural values. In some instances, one has to focus on the good, especially if life is not as efficient as it once was.
Being a tourist for at least the first few months allows you to establish what your favorite local joints are and find a routine. It is almost like a new slate where you get to try new things and experiences with no limitation. While there are pros to this, you will still stand out for the first few months, something that’s not always a good thing. However, time allows for us to get to do things that have us embraced by locals.
Ultimately, you’ll have to challenge yourself to make changes and do things you’re not initially comfortable with. If you’re shy or an introvert, you’ll have to make conscious effort to reach out to others, so you don’t remain isolated. The same goes with trying new foods and understanding societal systems, aspects that are all important.