Culture immersion – from expat to local citizen

Moving to a foreign country is a big deal. You have to go through a lot of admin, like your Australian tax return and paperwork, just to get there, and then settling in can be a challenge, especially if you have children.

It’s so easy to be attracted to what’s familiar to you – which for many expats means hanging out with other expats and ignoring the local culture. But throwing yourself into everyday life in a new country, although difficult at first, can be extremely rewarding.

We give you some tips on living like a local below.

Don’t be afraid of culture shock

One of the best things you can do when you move to a new country is to embrace its differences. Take language classes and learn the lingo, eat where the locals eat and hang out in local areas. If you bridge your fear of the foreign land, and enjoy all the things a new culture has to offer, you’ll find yourself feeling satisfied and rewarded, trust us. But don’t worry if this doesn’t happen immediately – adjusting to a new culture can take time.

Understand the excitement might go away

When you move to a new country, everything is different. You’ll feel stimulated every day as you witness new things and taste different foods. After a few months, however, this excitement might start to wear off a little – so be prepared for this.

Stay away from expat hangouts

It might be tempting to go to the Aussie bar in town, but why do that when you can experience that at home? Try to go to bars the locals frequent, or start a hobby like a dance class attended by locals. You’ll make new friends and start to get a real feel for the country you’re living in.

Don’t be afraid to get lost

It can be tempting to follow a guide book but leave it behind and don’t be afraid to explore somewhere new. Ask a local where their favourite places are and then go and check them out. You might be surprised by the exciting places you discover off the beaten path!

Say yes to invitations

If you make an effort to get to know the locals, you’ll soon find they’re friendly and will invite you out to places. It might seem frightening to go to dinner at someone’s house in a foreign land but don’t be afraid – it’s bound to be a rewarding experience!

We hope these tips help you to settle in to your new home and let you live like a local. Do you have any tips to add?

Shane Macfarlane CA
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