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Tips for Overcoming ChallangesLiving in a foreign country can be anything from exciting, through to stressful and frightening, sometimes in the same day! Of course, your experiences and challenges depend entirely on the reason why you are moving to a different country, who you are moving with, if anyone, who you know in that country, how different it is from your own country and how adaptable you are or at least how adaptable you are prepared to be. It’s impossible to provide answers to the question of how best to live in a foreign country in the short space of a single article but some useful tips are outlined below.

Tip#1 Do as much research as you can before you make your move

Whatever the reason you are going to live in a different country, there are many things you can find about the country and its people before you make your move. These are just some of the things you might want to find out about the new country:

  • What language(s) are spoken?
  • What type of government is it there? Is it a democracy or do people not question what the government says?
  • Is the climate similar to the one you are familiar with or is it quite different?
  • How does the country compare to your own in terms of affluence? Are most people better off, about the same or poorer than your own country?
  • Are there any differences in the clothes that people wear and are there any restrictions that could affect you?
  • What sort of food do people eat? Are there things that you can or cannot buy there which are different from home?

Tip#2 Learn some of the language (if it is different) before you go

Obviously if you are moving from one Anglophone country to another you won’t have to worry about communicating and any idiomatic expressions which are unique to the new country are things you can pick up when you are there. If you are moving to anywhere else, even one where English is widely spoken, it will certainly not hurt you to learn some of the language before you go. Some people learn new languages quickly, but if you are not great at language learning, familiaring yourself with common expressions is the best way to start and will at least give the impression to those you meet when you make the move that you have a genuine interest in them.

Tip#3 If in Rome, do as the Romans do

How you behave when you move to a different country depends very much on where it is. Some countries are much more sophisticated than others and are used to different ways of thinking and doing things. Other countries are much more conservative and may resent you behaving as if you were at home, or even commenting on the ways things are done in the new country. It pays to be patient and careful about what you say and do while watching and learning what the norms are in the country you go to. This is something that is easier when you know someone who is a local who can help you adapt.

Tip#4 Make local friends

It is a pity that some people gravitate to those they recognise from their own country when they move abroad. For one thing, you are missing out on a unique opportunity to broaden your horizons, learn a lot of new things and make some friends you would never have had if you had stayed at home. This may take time, and is not as easy for those who are accompanying a partner who has a job in that country. Joining a club, doing some volunteer work, or playing sport, are simple ways to meet locals and hopefully make some local friends.

Tip#5 Use your time in the new country to find out more about it

There is likely to be a lot of differences between the country you have moved to and the one you have come from. Even if the language is the same, the climate may be quite different. The scenery, vegetation, fauna and flora may be quite different. You have a unique opportunity to do things you never have been used to, like spending Christmas on the beach, rather than snugged up before a roaring log fire, going bird watching rather than to a bowling alley. On the other hand, there may be difficulties in moving to another country which you may become aware of and have to adapt to. It may not be safe to walk around at night, or even walk around alone at all.

Tip#6 It’s not difficult to keep in touch with friends and family back at home

The internet and cheap phone calls has made it so much easier to keep in contact with friends and family back at home, which makes it far less likely that you will be as homesick as you might have been without the convenience of social media, WhatsApp, cell phone and video calls. You will find that most of your old friends and family will be as keen to keep in contact with you as you are with them.