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Culture Shock

After months, weeks and days of preparations, talking to moving companies, arranging your personal and travel papers, deciding what to take and what to leave behind, preparing the kids for an "exciting and fun" venture into the world, you are finally at your new home. However, this is to another country, another city, facing new people, new language and a new culture.

New worries start surfacing about how to make new friends, how to communicate, how to adjust to your brand new everyday life as you and your family start missing its old habits. It is only natural to feel somewhat lonely and isolated. What you may be experiencing is known as "culture shock."

Before you become even more distressed think first: the better you are prepared for what you are to face, the easier it will be for you to cope with future problems.

So start by talking to your friends, relatives or whoever had a similar experience. You will be amazed by the tips that you will gather! For example, one of my friends that moved to a foreign country said to me that after spending three miserable weeks, she decided to work voluntarily at the community hall. The language she said "stopped being a problem" for her. The local people approached her and she made friends at no time while helping others.

Others have tried going to local gyms, started taking foreign language lessons, joined expatriate communities, clubs and/or any sort of social activities that they found interesting.

The most important thing of all is to remember that whatever the outlet, making the effort to reach out and to become involved is often all it takes to develop friendships and to make the most of your new experience.

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