My advice to anyone thinking of moving to a foreign land is to start thinking of yourself as an immigrant not just an expatriate, accept the local culture for what it is, try your HARDEST to learn the language and use it wherever possible. Don’t make the minimum effort – go for maximum effort! Think of it this way: Language is the very basis of communication, hence it is also the foundation of a new culture.
Talk with local people as often as possible, mix with them, mingle. Eventually you’ll create new friends & associates who you can talk to openly, then you may start to understand why their culture is the way it is. Always remember that no culture is superior to another… but we can ask the question “why are so they different?”
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can learn a new language, it just takes a lot of effort. Many English-only speaking people tend to think that the English language is superior to all others, and furthermore, that it is the responsibility of “foreigners” to learn English (even in non-English speaking countries!). But they also tend to under-appreciate genuine attempts to learn English. They take for granted the ability to speak, because they’re ignorant about the level of effort needed to learn a second language. I know, because I was definitely guilty of that when I could only speak one language. We expect to hear perfect English, but that is almost like asking the impossible. That mentality is just so wrong! It’s hypocritical, arrogant & conceited.
â€œThere are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.â€ – Robert Louis Stevenson
To all immigrants and expatriates, I say the following: realise you’re not bringing your home nation with you. If you think your own culture or country is superior, ask yourself why you are moving away from it. After learning the local language, you should attempt to meld the best customs or attributes that you’ve learned from each separate culture. Try to understand the patterns of social behaviour from the perspective of a culture other than your own. Avoid falling victim to “immiscible culture” syndrome, where you fail to truly integrate & assimilate with local culture.