Surviving in a new country

Discussion in 'Survival Stories' started by Christavia, Jun 13, 2016.

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  1. Christavia

    Christavia New Member
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    I am a Jamaican, currently living in Trinidad. It may seem like its not a big deal as we are neighboring Caribbean countries but we are so different yet we have various similarities. The culture here is very different. In Jamaica, customer service is key in all business areas but in Trinidad it is not so. Even in the banks, the tellers will have a soppy looking face and give nasty attitudes. Trinidadians themselves admit to this fact. Wherever I go I'm search of employment, that's the major factor which boosts employers to offer me jobs in customer service area, as they say Trinidadians are lacking in this department.
    Certain slangs that we use may sound disrespectful to them when to us it is a complement and vice versa. There is so much that I had to get accustomed to but I cannot even list them all.
     
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  2. Damorale

    Damorale Active Member
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    Cultural differences from one place to the very next are always startling when you aren't expecting them. Here in the UK, I know that in Scotland we have a very left leaning and liberal country, but in England we are more recently heading towards the right and voting much more conservatively for example. It speaks volumes for the differences between the general public of the two countries - one is more self-serving, one is more liberal. But then there are differences from town to town, too. Generally, unless you stay in one place for your entire life, you won't find a culture that is familiar to your own. Things that seem rude to me are completely normal and acceptable in some places. When I visit friends abroad, they're often taken aback by my "politeness" - stating that it is completely unnecessary in their country. Where I live, people say "Thank you" and "Sorry" all the time, to everything, even when there's nothing to be thankful or sorry for.
     
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  3. Arkane

    Arkane Master Survivalist
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    When I visit friends abroad, they're often taken aback by my "politeness" - stating that it is completely unnecessary in their country. Where I live, people say "Thank you" and "Sorry" all the time, to everything, even when there's nothing to be thankful or sorry for.

    That is because you have masters! and slaves must be subservient!
     
  4. Valerie

    Valerie Active Member
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    I moved from America to Japan not too long ago. For a while there, every day felt like a cultural Nerf gun battle. You'd be surprised how many Japanese simply loathe foreigners and will openly say terrible things about them within earshot. This is done out of the assumption that most foreigners don't speak the language. But then those of us who are fluent hear every nasty thing being said. Granted, there are accepting Japanese as well. Curious ones, too, who want to truly understand the cultural differences and how to tolerate them. I say tolerate because a great deal of the Japanese would rather have all foreigners behave as a Japanese would. I lost count of the times when I was told, "You're just like a Japanese person! How great!"

    Also the police are always on the lookout for suspicious looking foreigners roaming about places that aren't tourist hubs. And by suspicious, I mean anyone who isn't Japanese. They will run after you, demanding to see your credentials. It's a bit frightening at times. You think, "Oh, heck, what have I done now?"

    But I still love Japan. I love America too, but I'd rather deal with the craziness of Japan than what's going on the USA right now haha.
     
  5. Endure

    Endure Expert Member
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    Moving to a new country entails adaptation to a new environment most of times. Even despite living in similar urban conditions and accustomed to similar technologies, our habits and customs make of us develop noticeable differences.
    Immigration is a natural thing humans have been doing for thousands of years, nowadays instead of moving to new
    undiscovered lands, we deal with bureaucracy to just simply take an airplane and go to another country.
     
  6. Damorale

    Damorale Active Member
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    Possibly. I do think it's just cultural habit though. And particularly as a woman, being raised to seem ladylike and sweet and gentle. It's a bad habit to break out of, but I'm not alone. Most people around here are way too thankful and apologetic. In general, living in Britain, throughout history we have been the masters so I'm not sure why we are subservient. We were the colonizers, the slave owners, etc. To some extent, we still are.
     
  7. tb65

    tb65 Active Member
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    That's just how it is when you move to another country. You have to adapt to there culture without loosing yours. Knowing how things work around there and what to avoid is smart. Still don't loose yourself or who you are just adapt.
     
  8. remnant

    remnant Expert Member
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    If I in to a foreign country, the first thing I would be concerned about is my safety. I would try to befriend a policeman or someone of that sort and learn about the security profile of the area in am living in. The second thing would be to get familiarized with the currency and how to go round the language barrier. I would look for a priest or a member of the church laity so that I would have a community to belong as I attempt to establish my foothold in the new country. It would be a wonderful thing if one is single to look for a spouse and become a citizen.
     
  9. Moroccanbeauty2266

    Moroccanbeauty2266 Active Member
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    I would try to make friends with the locals and learn about the new place through interacting with them, while at the same time being careful who you trust too much.
    Maybe volunteering somewhere, for example, in a church or other religious institution would also be a good idea to get familiar with the lifestyle there.
    One thing that I find a little bit strange is how in some countries people just do not lock their doors behind them. In Germany, everyone locks their doors when they come home but in USA or even in UAE no one locks their doors. While living with an Egyptian family during my internship in UAE, I was so freaked out about the family not locking their door. At least I was able to lock my own room but when they were gone for a couple days for a family holiday I was alone at their home and was always afraid someone would be able to just come in their home.

    One thing is for sure, being in a foreign country brings along many challenges, language barriers and other insecurities ("cultural shock") but with time you will find out where and how you can fit in, you will know your status in the society and with time that will then help you to overcome many other hurdles. Surviving in a foreign country is doable. You just have to be smart about it.
     
  10. Corzhens

    Corzhens Master Survivalist
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    Maybe you are using a wrong term because you have difficulty living in a foreign country and not really surviving. It would just make it harder for you if you will use the word surviving, okay? But anyway, your case is not unique so you can relax and take it easy. I have not experienced living in another country but I am a traveler. In fact, I would be in Hongkong next weekend for a short vacation, just to roam around. It is our tradition to go to Hongkong every year, me and my husband. We are going to stay in a hotel.

    Just to let you know, when we first went to Hongkong in 1994, we couldn't find English-speaking Chinese so you can imagine how we communicate by hand signals. In buying, the vendor was using the calculator so we could both understand the pricing of the goods. In restaurants, the pictures in the menu was what assisted us. On our second journey to Hongkong in 2012, it was kind of easier because English is not that alien anymore to them although there is still the language barrier.

    I guess your problem in "surviving" is the culture. Just be resilient and try to agree with what they do. There is a saying that when in Rome, do what the Romans do. So try to adapt their culture to yourself and I'm sure you will enjoy living in that foreign country. Another trick is to admire the positive things that you see in there like the good food and nice places.
     
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  11. OursIsTheFury

    OursIsTheFury Expert Member
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    I think the main issue here is xenophobia and racism. Let's face it, no matter where you go, if you are different, you will be treated differently, you will be looked at when you are at the street, and you will often be discriminated against by some in the community you are living in. It's nothing personal, it's just that people hate anything that didn't come from one of their own, and that's the main issue with moving to a different country. You basically are alone in a sea of people. Discount the language barrier, the religion difference, it's always going to be having to deal with the people, and immersing yourself, prove yourself, until they can consider you as one of their own.
     
  12. Christavia

    Christavia New Member
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    Wow, quite an interesting story. It is easier if the people around you are welcoming. There is a rift between Trinidad and Jamaica so that also pose as a challenge for me when trying to get familiar with residents here. Getting a job is also another issue but yes I must admit that there are a few upsides to the negatives. Jobs here pay more than back home and I have recently met a wonderful man and things are going a little smoother for me at the moment.
     
  13. hades_leae

    hades_leae Active Member
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    I would never subject myself to a culture of people like that, now they may be good people, but if on a daily basis I cannot connect with society, even if it means that I don't speak to no one, then I have to go.

    Here in America, I don't really have friends, I don't connect with people, but I do go out to handle business, and if everyone that I had to encounter had attitudes, or they always sounded disrespectful would make me want to leave the country because I just don't like the way I feel in those moments.

    Sometimes you just need to do what makes you feel good, and if it's not living around people who are not necessarily bad, but because of their nations culture, you might be best off leaving.
     
  14. Vinaya

    Vinaya Expert Member
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    I am from Nepal and I have lived in India for couple of months. Nepal and India are similar in many years, for instance Nepal and India share more or less similar culture and tradition, India and Nepal both are predominantly Hindu. However, India is still a foreign country. I lived in South India and I was an alien in the Dravadian culture in South India. I did not know the language, the culture was alien to me, the food was very very strange. However, I survived in south India. I learned simple words and sentences that made communication easy, I made local friends who introduced me to the tradition and culture. When I had to leave the place, I was sad.
     
  15. amelia88

    amelia88 Well-Known Member
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    This really hits home for me, as right now I'm living as an expat in Japan! I've been here for a few years now, with a couple of years left (we are here because of my husband's work) and when we first got here I felt like a fish out of water. Didn't know anyone, didn't know the language, couldn't even eat with chopsticks - I felt like I was an alien!

    I think the biggest things that helped me were just taking things day by day, and also learning some basic words and phrases. I'm certainly not fluent in Japanese, but after a few years now I know enough to get by. And that's huge...just being able to go to the post office or the grocery store and being able to ask for help, or ask what something is...being able to communicate is KEY!

    I also think a big part of surviving in a new country is understanding it's not going to be like your home country - but embracing that as a good thing rather than something to fear. I love it here now - in fact I'm honestly dreading the thought of leaving, I love it that much!
     
  16. Maria_C

    Maria_C New Member
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    Well in values and the ways of life change with varying societies. It is good since you've realised the difference and trying to adjust.
     
  17. Clara1993

    Clara1993 Active Member
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    Hallo I understand you :) It's difficult to adopt to another culture whether similar or completely different you will always feel like a stranger and you will never feel at home, Every different thing will make you miss your country even when you have to deal with that poor customer care it will be really hard but all you have to do is to say Hey yeah I'm a stranger and all I want is this and that, Then make sure to have what you want and stay safe which is the most important :) and if you feel even a little bit unsafe go back home Safety is what really matters well for me :)
     
  18. streettallest

    streettallest New Member
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    You must not throw away the valued you where brought up with just because you are in a new country. Just do the right thing because not too long your light will start shinning.
     
  19. Beforenow

    Beforenow New Member
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    People are the same everywhere you go at the root of them. Where they are different is how they express who they are, and what their values are. Those two aspects of culture are expressed in three things imo. Food, art, and body language. My advice for those that move outside their home culture, is to study those three things with and open mind, and an understanding this is their home. No one cares for someone who would disrespect their home.

    My .02
     
  20. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    You don't even have to go to another country to run headlong into how different people can be. The difference between people in the same country can be vast and hard to understand and adapt to. Often the misunderstandings are when you interpret someone else's actions by YOUR standards and beliefs.

    A couple of examples. Anglos people will tell their kids to "Look at me when I'm talking to you!!" It is generally considered to be that a kid is trying to hide something from you or is guilty when they won't look at you in the eye. When you start being around people of hispanic culture the kids won't do this. In their culture it is disrespectful to look an adult in the face. If you view a respectful hispanic child with your anglo crucial rules you will judge them wrongly.

    In Texas we are raised to be rather polite. Yes sir, no ma'am, please, thank you and excuse me are words that are or were ingrained to us in childhood. We just can't help it. When we go someplace else they think it is funny. The thing is that people from other parts of the country don't understand the entire culture that this is a part of. We are polite in part because if you are rude I may STOMP you.

    I've known several yanks that had to discover this the hard way. I had a friend from one of the big East coast cities that learned the hard way. I would move through a crowded place saying excuse me and people nodded and moved for me. I thanked them for this. He would get in a crowd and start pushing and bumping people aside like he did in the subways back home. I laughed my ass of one day when he shoved a small man aside and got kicked in the nuts. We are polite because we are also more than willing to fight. By his standards it was uncivilized to us this is just what happens if you are rude.

    Polite behavior doesn't always reflect weakness or anything except how to get along with people that are not the least afraid to get violent if they feel you are being rude.

    When you go someplace else you need to try real hard to figure out the rules that apply there and to not judge by the standards of YOUR culture. Where ever you live is your HOME and if you want to be happy there you need to adapt and adopt the rules of that place. Learn their language and more important what their words mean to THEM. If you go to someone else's place and then try to make THEM adapt to you things are not likely to go well. If you live in a Christian country you need to understand the ways that this affects their ways and views. The same is true if you are Christian and go to live in a Muslim or Hindu country. It is their place and you need to understand their rules.
     
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