Fitting In As An Expat

When you decide to take a job abroad or retire overseas, you need to be careful that you fit in correctly. It is very easy to offend citizens of the country you will reside in, without meaning to do so. For example, there are certain customs and behaviors that you want to know before going to any Asian country. It is not that these countries expect you to know—in fact—they are used to people coming in and behaving rudely.

A bit ago there was a man on a train who put his feet on the dinner tray. Not only was that rude to the Chinese travelers around him, but it was unhygienic. Do you want to be the person who gives the rest of the world an impression of a manner-less individual who has no regard for anyone else or would you like to assimilate into the culture you will be living? Thankfully, most expats wish to provide a good impression. So, here are things you can do to fit in better when you move abroad.

Learn the Language

Start by learning the language before you go. Do whatever you need to, so that you have the language knowledge. You may only be able to say hello, goodbye, where is this or that, but you should have some knowledge. Show that you have made an effort to learn the language where you will live. To immerse yourself and learn the language completely, you do need to live abroad. However, you can get a start. There are several tools from CDs and books to actual classes. Take whatever you can to have the words, phrases, and diction down before you go. Even if you only have a few weeks, you still have time to learn a few things. It shows that you care about fitting in and that you care about the culture you are about to join.

Take a Trip, First

If at all possible visit the country you will be living. This will help you get an idea of where things are, get the tourist behavior out of the way, and ensure you know exactly what you have signed up for. Someone who accepts a job without ever going to the country will find a culture shock waiting for them and a higher potential for failure. Do not let yourself be this person. Instead, explore, learn, and discover what you can love about the country and its people.

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