Sandeep and Rajwinder immigrated to Canada in 2008. With dreams and hopes of a better lifestyle and more money, the couple moved to Calgary with their toddler twins. But nothing back home had prepared them for the huge sense of isolation and loneliness in the foreign land. The snow kept them indoors most time and very soon the lack of social interactions and activity served to depress both of them. Not finding jobs of their choice and expectations was another major reason for their growing hopelessness in their new homeland. Not surprisingly, Sandeep and Rajwinder moved back to India within a year.
What Goes Wrong After Immigration?
People who have no friends or families living in their new adopted country, often feel lonely and depressed after landing. Language barrier exists even for people who speak English moderately well. They don’t understand the local slangs or accents. Finding a job that can be compared to old job back home is another big dilemma. Setting up a whole new life for yourself in an alien land is not easy, and sometimes it takes its toll on immigrants.
How To Overcome The Culture Shock Abroad?
The only way to overcome the culture shock is to completely adopt the new culture as your own. If you are immigrating to a Western country, you obviously see something positive in their culture and society. You can make it easier for you to settle down by following these tips:
• Be The Change: The only way to adapt to a new culture is to change yourself. You must be the change that you wish to see in your life. So stop resisting change just because it is foreign.
• Talk Talk Talk: Try to form social interactions with people around you, no matter how small or inconsequential. The idea is for you to learn the local language, dialect, accent and slangs. Learning to communicate with the locals is the biggest step towards gelling in.
• Back Home: Immigrants often feel the need to compare everything about their new life and new country with things back home. This is a habit that will never let you really accept your new country. Though it is seen as a way of connecting with the land you have left behind, it is a barrier in your settling down in your new homeland.
• Make Friends: Your new friends will be the family your make for yourself in your adopted land. You will find that people are generally friendly and helpful. All you need to do is ask for help, strike conversations and generally be friendly and approachable.
• TV Is Your Guide: It is important to resist the urge to keep watching the Star Plus (and other Indian) shows you are hooked to. Try watching local TV channels instead. Watch local news to keep yourself updated about things around you. Watching local entertainment channels helps you in learning the local language and gives you useful insight into the general social structure, relationships etc in your new country.
• Open Up: If you are immigrating with the view that you will never allow the vices of the West to corrupt you and your family, you will never settle down. Our source of information about Western vices is usually Bollywood films and TV. The films hardly portray a realistic picture of the ground reality. Go to your new homeland with a view that people are generally nice and you need not “protect” yourself from them. Try to get to know them, and you will find that you can really learn a lot from other cultures.
The culture shock is inevitable for any Indian migrating to a Western country. While some people are well prepared for it by their exposure to the foreign culture through books, internet and cinema, some people are completely caught unawares. But in either case, keeping an open mind will help you greatly.