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:
In this process, we ask ourselves who we are as person in the core- our core values and beliefs about the world.
The answers to these questions are deep and take time to explore. The key is when exploring surface similarities not to get too tied up in things that aren’t possible to change. In moving to another place, it’s natural our lifestyle will change based on the local circumstances. Don’t dwell too much on the loss – acknowledge it, grieve it, and move on. Spending too much time focusing on what we don’t have or can’t do will cause more homesickness, regret for moving and deeper culture shock. Relying on doing things the way they were done in the old place is not practical or realistic; especially when the place one is moving from and moving to are very, very different on the surface and below the surface (mindset, etc.).
Thank you for reading and listening.
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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