Moving Abroad? Here are some tips to help make your integration as smooth and fulfilling as possible
Integrating into a new culture and country can be a daunting experience, but it can also be incredibly enriching. Here are some tips that can help you make a smooth transition and settle in to your new surroundings.
Learn the language: One of the most important things you can do to integrate into a new culture is to learn the local language. This not only makes it easier to communicate with others, but also shows respect for the culture you're now a part of. Start by taking language classes or using online resources to get started. Dr. Roya and I were opening a medical practice during our first year, which cut into our study time tremendously, but our #1 goal for year 2 is to become fluent! And even with the reduced study hours, we were both able to become conversational in just our first 6 months, thanks to some wonderful teachers and the incredible patience of thhe Costa Rican people.
Get involved: Joining local clubs or organizations can help you meet new people and become more familiar with the local customs and culture. You can also attend cultural events and festivals to experience the local culture firsthand. Our business, Ojos Del Mar, partnered with an incredible non-profit, CEPIA, and through the organization has meet a ton of wodnerful new people.
Keep an open mind: Moving to a new culture can be challenging, but it's important to keep an open mind and be willing to learn about the new norms and values. This can help you to avoid making assumptions and building negative stereotypes. We are all a product of the environments we grew up in, and while some norms may be differnt, keeping an open mind will help you appreciate and in some cases, even begin to adopt those differences.
Be respectful: Make an effort to understand and respect local customs and traditions, even if they are different from what you're used to. Be mindful of your behavior and avoid actions that might be considered rude or disrespectful.
Make new friends: Making new friends can be one of the most rewarding experiences when moving to a new country. Join local social media groups, (Facebook groups have been great for us) attend meet-ups, and be open to meeting new people. Having friends from the local culture can provide you with a support system and help you feel more at home.
Embrace the differences: Instead of trying to recreate your familiar life in a new country, try to embrace the differences and make the most of new experiences. This can help you to appreciate the unique aspects of your new home and broaden your horizons. Some of our greatest memories have come from stepping out of our comfort zone while traveling abroad and we've met a ton of cool people in the process!
7. Stay connected: Keep in touch with friends and family back home, but also make an effort to form new connections in your new country. This can help you feel more connected to your new community and provide you with a sense of belonging.
8. EXTRA CREDIT - Build something to supports your new community: Whether it's starting a non-profit, a new meet-up or Faebook group, or a new bsuiness, putting in the work to do something that serves your new neighborhood is a great way to let your actions speak for themselves. In our case, we openep up a high end Optometry practice that donates one free eye exam back to the community for every paid eye exam we complete in the clinic. To date, we've been able to provide over 200 free eye exams to our local community.
With the right mindset and approach, moving to a new country and adapting to it's culture can be one of the most rewarding expereicnes of your life. By following these tips, you can make the most of your new home and experience the richness of a new culture.
Good luck on your journey!
About the Author: Ojos Del Mar is a world class eye care clinic and eyewear gallery in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. They specialize in comprehensive eye care, dry eye and keratoconus treatment, prescription eyewear, in-house lens finishing, contacts, and custom or hard to fit contacts. To schedule an appointment or learn aout the clinic and their 1:1 eye exam donation program, click here.