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Is your relocation to a new country just round the corner? Have your kids started planning the decoration of their bedroom or which sport to pursue in their new school? In all probability, you would have by now taken care of the critical aspects of your relocation – packing your goods, finding a home in the destination location and even the school your kids would eventually go to; but a relocation is much more than this.

A relocation is not just moving your goods, it is moving your life. It is moving from one culture to another and this means leaving personal, social and professional circles and creating new ones – not only yours, but your family’s as well. While unarguably, a relocation is an opportunity to grow and learn, it is also fair that one would need a reasonable time to get accustomed and adjusted to their new environment.

Sverre Lysgaard, a Norwegian sociologist, studied this adjustment process and identified four stages that most expatriates go through when they arrive into a new culture. It’s worth knowing these four stages so as to be prepared for those moments when you are down.  When you feel a bit down, just have a look at them and remember: it’s just temporary!

Stage 1: Honeymoon Phase

As the name suggests, in this stage, you only see the “bright side” of your new culture. You are excited by the new things and changes that come across every day and have an optimistic dispensation in view of the opportunities that lie ahead of you.

Stage 2: Crisis Phase or Cultural Shock

In this phase, you may observe that some habits, rules and behavioural patterns that you were accustomed to in your home country don’t necessarily apply or work in your new country. As a consequence, confusion and frustration can engulf you and a feeling of unease in some unfamiliar situations can crop up.

Stage 3: Recovery

With the passage of time, you start identifying the local cues and don’t feel uncomfortable by local habits and behaviour. You start getting familiar with the local culture and feel at ease to find your way out in social and public life. The shock value has considerably subsided!

Stage 4: Adaptation

Finally, you feel at home and consider yourself integrated into the local culture. You begin to break your shackles and have started making friends. You start enjoying what the destination has to offer and let your anxieties go. The cultural difference no longer stops you from leading a normal life. You begin to flow with the pace and settings of the place.

Remember: Adaptation to a new culture is always fraught with challenges and is never easy, but the more knowledge, patience and understanding you equip yourself with, the better and faster this adaptation turns out to be.

To better integrate yourselves with a new culture and facilitate easier integration into a new destination, Crown Relocations provides settling in and orientation services. Enquire now.

Minimising cultural shock

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