It can be difficult to move and live in a new environment, especially when this new environment is a foreign country. In an unfamiliar setting you are likely to feel insecure and disoriented. You have to deal with different values, behaviors, and social customs of a different culture.
This is the time to keep your mind wide open and be willing to accept any differences. You will not survive for too long if you perceive anything that is different as unsuitable and negative. By not making judgments you will be more objective and it will ease your acceptance into a different culture.
Never use your own cultural perspective to interpret the behavior of those from a different culture. Americans like to use “What’s up?” as a way to say “Hi” and will sometimes respond to the question with just a nod. This, however, can seem strange and rude to a foreigner who might wonder why Americans do not give a proper response.
A culture is full of layers that have accumulated through its history. If you think you have understood a culture just by grasping its surface, you could run into lots of problems. Take your time and dig through the different layers until you really understand the social and historical context of situations.
It’s only natural to not know how to behave in a new social situation. The best things to do are relax and keep your sense of humor. If you make some kind of cultural gaffe, don’t feel embarrassed, but instead laugh at yourself. People will laugh with you and admire you for trying to accept their culture.
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