How to cultivate cultural awareness before living in a new country?

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and live overseas, whether that be job opportunity, change of scenery or romance. Whatever it may be the number 1 thing to do is to learn: and learn as much as you can before you move. Learn the customs, religions, dress, food options and any other factor which is going to be different to what you usually experience day to day.

Learn the Language –

If you’re moving to a foreign country where the first language is not the same as your first language – make sure you start taking lessons before you get there. You never know when you might need to communicate in a time of desperation. Communication is number one. Also learn body language – Learn what the culture finds appropriate and what they do not as some body language or habits in certain cultures may be offensive to another culture in comparison. I think key things to focus on include; how to eat, greet and converse.

Live –

When you are moving figure out what area you are going to relocate in. From here you can make judgement on food preferences, transportation, if it is close to work (if that’s why you’re moving) or hobbies you’re interested in. If you’re a vegetarian like me you will definitely have to do research. Lucky for me I moved right here in India and every single restaurant has veg options and I am not sure on the statistics but a large part of the population are vegetarian.

Why? –

Always remember the why power. Why is it we do what we do.. And why is it that you want to relocate to a new country? Always keep in the forefront of your mind why you have moved. It is not going to be easy and it will be outside your comfort zone but it is an invaluable lesson that teaches us gratitude and presents us with a mindset of continual growth.

It is important to respect the beliefs and customs of a culture because it gives us a global approach in dealing with all different types of people resulting in ease and adaptation to different countries, building friendships from various backgrounds quicker and making life a whole lot more colourful!

‘Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.’ – Paulo Coehlo