It’s evident that moving to a new country is never easy. When you move you leave your comfort zone behind, and begin experiencing a wide range of uncertainties and difficulties. New languages, new food, new people, new customs, different social etiquette like eating pizza with a fork, new transportation like train systems you must memorize in order to get around, and many names you can’t pronounce.
The list of things you have to learn once you arrive seems endless. Having a normal routine in a familiar environment seems impossible. Many can’t handle an international move and begin giving up in a few months. Through my personal experience after moving to France was that you need to give yourself six to nine months to truly start feeling comfortable in a new place. Leaving any earlier is giving up.
Adapting to a new culture takes time, patience, and personal inner strength. Through this blog I hope to share my personal experience with those who are abroad, faraway, and thinking of giving up. Last year I found myself with an unexpected yet great opportunity to move to France. I accepted the offer knowing that it would lead to a great experience and career. To say that France was completely different from the United States is an understatement. I had envisioned Paris, France to be comparable to New York City. Although, it did have similarities: gridlocked traffic, packed subway system, visible inequalities in wealth, and mixed cultures.
Feeling safe and secure and making friends took me about one month. Finally adapting and feeling accepted in a foreign culture took me six months. When the time came to return, I had fallen in love with France and I felt like I was leaving home. Give yourself enough time to adapt and learn to be patient, tolerant and accepting of differences.