The right kind of foreigner
How do you embrace the foreign environment when the fact remains that it is ‘foreign’? There may be challenges, barriers, and a lot of apprehensions to be faced. But with the right kind of character extensions, awareness, and approach, adapting might just become easier. We curate our character as we grow and putting in conscious and focused efforts might help us transform challenging phases of our lives into memorable ones. Leanne Pooley once said,
‘You can never be too prepared.’
There has to be some truth to that, right?
Nowadays, our travel ambitions have found both acknowledgment and encouragement. Many more students are determined not to settle for anything less.
With the zeal to explore and achieve, students apply for scholarships, fellowships, and work opportunities abroad. Their conviction takes them to great foreign universities even if it falls beyond their realm of comfort.
However, what happens when the new life becomes an everyday life? How exactly can you keep it still filled with vigor and feel if not at home, at least something close to it?
Initially, getting even the simplest tasks done can feel like a scavenger hunt, causing a lot of confusion and exhaustion. Realistically, though, being a true international is not just going to be about happy explorations. Being aware of the challenges and the possible solutions beforehand will equip internationals to approach life abroad with a more flexible and adaptive mindset.
A few helpful points to focus on can be:Read More
♣ Asking fellow expats: People who have gone through similar struggles might give great insights as to how to handle small issues. Gaining knowledge of the culture, the people, the living, the cuisine, the healthcare, etc. as experienced by an international will surely be a kick-start for a new foreign national. It is also good to ask for references or introductions.
♣ Setting up your own space: It is common knowledge that the quality of our environment has a great impact on our physical and psychological health. Given that it is a cardinal factor, it is important that we first understand our environment and if factors are not favorable naturally, we should make efforts to make it closer to what resonates with our personalities. Housing and accommodation are a focus area as they represent our space and the time when we take a break from our social and professional lives. Even if it seems trivial and tedious to set up your space in a foreign country particularly when the duration of your stay is limited, it is extremely important to understand that, setting up your space gives you comfort and familiarity. So even a shorter stay would mean a productive, short stay. Be it an apartment, dorm room, or study corner, having a personally curated space is important for enhancing productivity.
♣ Understanding the currency: When you have spent your entire life in a different country with a different currency and market, it is entirely natural to follow and understand that particular way of pricing and buying goods as being ‘normal’ compared to any other. Moving to a new country comes with an additional challenge in day-to-day life, where you must understand the local market and find the closest familiar option available. You should always understand the goods of your home country may well fall under the heading of ‘exotic goods’ in the foreign country. Conscious efforts must be put into gauging what works best for the country you now live in.
♣ Overcoming the language barrier: Countries often present a huge language barrier. Even say in best-case scenarios, the locals know and communicate with you in the language you understand, they would prefer to communicate amongst themselves in their local language, which often leaves you feeling like an outsider. Therefore, even if you are not a keen language enthusiast, it is good to learn rudimentary phrases for everyday life, in order not to be at a total loss during conversations. Engaging with fellow internationals is bound to be easier, but the locals know their country the best, and to know the country and how to do everyday things efficiently, the locals can be the best guide. Moreover, a new language will constantly keep you entertained and proactive.
♣ Being in touch: Often moving to a new country may well create a distance between you and your family and friends from back home for a variety of reasons. It is important to put effort into maintaining and nourishing these relationships and to make time for them as they will help you stay connected to your roots and can help keep the rush of homesickness away. Besides interacting with fellow expats via online forums, joining clubs of interest, and making new connections, it is also vital to maintain old connections that contribute to your overall growth and peace.
♣ Blending in without fading out: Moving abroad, depending on your origin, might make it harder to accept the ideologies and mindset of the destination country. It is vital to remember that our world is about coexisting and that we humans are all unique. Exposure to different opinions and ideas is one of the biggest rewards of moving abroad and you should embrace this opportunity and learn. It is still vital to hold onto your opinion, integrity, and personality, though. After all blending in means coexisting and not becoming a copy.
Hopefully, pondering on these small yet key points will help the reader with directions to work on. Why just survive when you can also enjoy a foreign land?
Being an international will in any case leave an indelible mark on one’s character, so why not do it right?
Article Writer & Content Contributor
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The opinions expressed in this article/publication are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of GiLE or its members.
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