Leaving your home country to work abroad is not an easy task. You might need to learn another language, become familiar with the local culture, get along with different colleagues, and make new friends. These cannot happen overnight – adapting to a new workplace takes time!
While this may seem like a challenging task, remember that you are not alone! Just like you, there are other people who are trying to adapt to a different culture. They, too, are just beginning to learn how to fit in. Here are some tips on how you can adapt to your new environment.
Tips for Adapting to a New Culture or Workplace
#1 – Get ready to mingle.
Set aside your shy side and get ready to mingle. Make “small talk” with your co-workers, roommates, and even local store employees. You’d be surprised to see many newbies around! By being approachable and engaging in small talk, you will find it easier to make new friends.
#2 – Don’t be afraid of committing mistakes.
I once had a teacher who said, “When you make a mistake, that’s when you learn.” This also applies to living abroad. The fact is, you don’t know everything yet – and that’s okay. When you make a mistake, people will understand and they would be willing to show you the ropes.
#3 – Attend events and activities.
Do you play any sports or games? Ask around for groups or teams that you could join. Are you into baking, drawing, or other hobbies? Look for other people who share your interests. There are plenty of places to go and things to do, if you just keep on searching.
One way to learn about events and activities is by going online. There are Facebook groups that you could join and meet new friends. Meanwhile, you could also browse bulletin boards in grocery stores, shops, and other places to find out the latest happenings.
#4 – Join “potluck” dinners and parties.
Take the opportunity to meet people from other countries. Plan “potluck” dinners where each guest can bring a specialty dish. Learn how to whip up your favorite recipe or a popular dish from your home country. Food is always a great way to bring people together!
#5 – Be open and understanding.
In a place where people from different cultures come together, it is unavoidable for ideas and customs to clash. What seems acceptable for you may be offensive or unheard of in another culture. And so, you need to keep an open mind and be more understanding, no matter how different others may seem.
Being abroad in a different culture or workplace may seem difficult at times. But remember that if others have done it before, so can you! Take it as an opportunity for you to grow, to learn new things, to make new friends, and to step out of your comfort zone.