Friday, July 16, 2010

Adapting to a New Culture

I often get asked questions about dealing with the cultural differences when living abroad. And usually the answers are not obvious. If you are completely new to a given country, expect that you will make cultural "faux-pas" here and there; its part of the package. What's important is, what you learn from those mistakes. With every ungraceful attempt in getting one's agenda across is a lesson. Not only is it critical to learn from one's mistakes but equaling important is to always probe further on the question of cultural acceptability in your host country.

Lastly, once there is more clarity on the particular cultural issue, it's then time to modify one's behavior. It's the gradual modification of behavior over time that allows one to fully intergrate into the society of a given country. One person cannot change a culture. Know that ultimately, if you want to stay in a particular country for an extended period of time happily, its essential to bend to the culture.

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