You have found a place to stay, processed your visa, and notified your bank...after all of the administrative preparations are complete, is there anything to do but wait until your departure date? Besides the obvious preparations, here are a few fun ways you can start adjusting to your new lifestyle before you even leave.
Speak the Language
If you are moving to a location that has a different local language, try speaking it as much as you can. Incorporate everyday words or phrases into your life at home. One way to do this is by placing notes with basic vocabulary words in the corresponding rooms. For example, you might write "toothbrush, water, medicine, and shower" on a note stuck to your bathroom mirror.
You can build your vocabulary without much effort by turning on the subtitles or audio dubbing on shows and movies you are already planning to watch. Although it may be too advanced to make the complete switch, this will help you begin picking up on the rhythm and structure of the language. You might even learn a few slang phrases that you'll hear your coworkers use!
Get in Touch
Search for local news sources in your destination. What are the most common cities, people, and events mentioned? Having this knowledge will help you feel more connected when you arrive, and you will be able to contribute to conversations with your new coworkers.
Head to the Kitchen
Headed to India? Experiment with curries. Taking off to Japan? Discover your favorite sushi. By experimenting with foods in your kitchen and at local restaurants, you will start to get a taste for the local cuisine. Even though the preparation and ingredients may not be completely accurate, it will still help to have an idea of some of the flavors you can expect.
Meet the People
Volunteer at an organization or join a group with natives of your destination country. Most major cities are inhabited by people from other cities or who are passionate about other cultures. For example, you could join a Francophone society to meet a diverse group of people who will share similar feelings as you and be able to offer excellent advice. Or maybe you volunteer at a naturalization ceremony to form friendships with previous citizens of your new destination. Sharing personal experiences and beliefs in these groups is the best way to anticipate challenges, find a favorite place to eat, and break down stereotypes from both cultures.
Communication is a large part of moving to a new place. Thankfully, there are many ways that cultures communicate, whether it is through words, non-verbal cues, or traditions. To get comfortable with communicating across cultures before you step on the airplane, check out Dwellworks CultureCloud, an online training platform. Or, view more Intercultural Services from Dwellworks.
To read more about intercultural training, click here.