Some Basics of Moving to a New Culture

Life Coach Catharine Ecton has experience living internationally.

Life Coach Catharine Ecton has experience living internationally.

Using a coach with international experience brings an added dimension of understanding to expats, immigrants, and diplomats. People facing international relocation often have an acute feeling of stress. This can be due to anticipating a period of isolation from familiar routines, the inability to communicate in the host country’s language, sadness because of living far from friends and family and negatively comparing the new culture to one’s own.

A coach can help smooth this transition. Having specific discussions on change, identifying a community in the new country to join and taking language classes can help the client focus on a plan and anticipate the next steps. When a client is able to see an outcome from the move and a sense of his new lifestyle, he will recognize that being part of another culture requires letting go of old habitual behaviors that may not have a place in the new life. This learning is a tremendous help in relieving anxiety. The support and direction a coach gives will make this process the starting point of an exciting journey.

Some questions to consider are:

  • what kind of life do you want in the new country?
  • what frustrations are you likely to face? how will you handle them?
  • how will you guard against social isolation?
  • what will you do to adapt to cultural differences?

The impact of cross-cultural relocation has well-documented stages of adjustment. They are: initial euphoria, a period of frustration and irritability, gradual adjustment and finally adaptation. The payoff of experiencing these stages is the acceptance of another culture and the understanding and enjoyment of contact with host nationals. Here the possibities for personal growth and learning are boundless. A move overseas increases our understanding of others and expands our ability to be part of the world in a positive way. This is the place where prejudiced attitudes can change.

Being adventurous is a trait for success.