How to “survive” in a foreign country?

It has been almost two months since I am in Poland. Most people ask whether I am feeling homesick or not, how am I doing here, Is it easy to adapt, and some just say “You’ve got this.”

Psychological studies suggest that the stress level from moving to another country reaches a maximum of 100 points (for comparison, the death of loved ones is estimated at the same amount).

To describe the condition of a person who has just moved to another country, the American anthropologist Kalervo Oberg introduced the concept of “cultural shock” back in 1954. “The fact is that emigration is a radical change of everything: language, culture, style of behaviour, history, geography, circle of friends, often profession.
Based on the theory of cultural shock, when a person finds himself in completely new conditions for himself, he feels the conflict of old and new cultural norms. All the understandable psychological and social factors that helped him adapt to society disappear, and instead of them there are unknown people who came from another cultural environment.

The duration and complexity of each of the stages is a purely individual issue.
We all experience from time to time the existential loneliness that is inherent in every person, but in this condition it becomes much more acute because we are outside the context of our own culture. We all belong to a certain culture, regardless of whether we like it or not. This is the basic basis of personality. Therefore, being separated from his country, a person feels that he has no one to touch.But when you are faced with a misunderstanding of these things, there is an acute sense of loneliness. Therefore, at such a moment, it’s time to get on a plane and fly home for a while. Or meet people from your national community, listen to music or watch a movie in your native language in order to get in touch with your culture for at least a short time, get the illusion of proximity to it.
One of the most difficult tests is the feeling of one’s own uselessness and obscurity, especially for those people whose social status in their native country was quite high. For me, the most difficult thing was that my phone is silent. None of my friends or colleagues are looking for me. It feels as if you are erased from the social field for a while.

This process can be compared to how a drug addict “gets off the needle.” If you went into a room in your homeland and everyone “squatted”, and now this is not there, if the usual levers of influence no longer work, then you feel completely naked and unprotected. In this case, you need to remind yourself that all your experience, knowledge, skills, achievements have not disappeared after moving abroad – it’s just that now you need to learn how to apply them again. It is very important to remember your experience of achievements in the past: what were then your resources to overcome difficulties.

In addition, the situation of “zeroing out” has a positive side: you can leave in the past not only your regalia, but all the mistakes you made – create a new, improved image of yourself.


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