When we move to a new place- no matter how near or far- we will have to make adjustments to our lifestyle. Moving to another country is an extreme adjustment, but it can feel just as extreme to move from a small town to a nearby city in the same country; in the same state when the cultures and lifestyles of the two places are very different. How can we balance our identity when moving to a new place? How can we remain true to ourselves as the unique, special individuals we are?
You could ask yourself (instead of paying a cross-cultural coach big bucks to do the same) “What did I used to do enjoy doing in my old place and can I do it here?” You could adjust those answers accordingly to your new living situation and try to live accordingly. When moving abroad; depending on the country this can become and often is the biggest challenge to finding comfort in a new culture. But, this is a problem even when moving within the same country and state depending on how different the two areas are.
Some questions that arise in this process:
- How much of my identity is tied up in what I do and how I do it?
- Because I can’t do this [thing I used to do] anymore am I still the same person?
- If I have to do this [new thing] now, am I still the same person or different?
In this process, we ask ourselves who we are as person in the core- our core values and beliefs about the world.
- What kind of person am I when no one is looking?
- What kind of person do I want to be remembered as?
- What are my core qualities?
- Is it possible to remain true to those when moving around the block or around the world?
- How much do my inner values dictate my behavior?
- How will the behavior remain the same or different when I move abroad?
- How much do my surface similarities gel with or conflict with my behavior and values?
Thank you for reading.
Author, Jennifer Kumar is a culture strategist. She helps Indians working with Americans to relate better with Americans and be successful in cross-cultural business environments through adjusting to cultural differences. Contact Jennifer for your onsite and offshore teams today.
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