Try These Useful Hints and Tips for Cultural AdjustmentMoving to a new country is an amazing experience. Your horizons expand, you can explore new cultures, and you can hone your professional skills in a new environment. As an expat, it’s important to feel comfortable as you settle into your new country. This means creating good social and business networks to get the support you need. Unfortunately, you’re never as prepared as you think you are. Even the most seasoned traveler is going to struggle in the first six months. Read on for some helpful tips to make networking easier as you build and strengthen your connections.
Expat Networking and Ways to Make Connections More Easily
Before You Move
Research the Local Culture and CustomsLearning about the customs and common behaviors in your adopted country can make your networking much easier. Cultural norms differ widely from place to place, and a little research can save you from making a social faux pas. Kwintissential has some great guides on international etiquette, separated by country.
Connect With Expat Social NetworksSocial networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn will have groups focused on expats in your area, but you can filter out the noise by joining an expat-specific social group that’s relevant to your age and interests. InterNations boasts networking groups in 390 cities across the globe, and hosts group activities alongside its own social network. (Note: Expat Friends offers a similar social network on a smaller scale.) Facebook groups are also tremendous assets for professional networking and building new social circles. Expat Focus has Facebook groups for many countries, and the International Expat Group has Facebook groups for popular cities. Jörgen Sundberg created a great guide for Undercover Recruiter about networking on Facebook. He explains that Facebook has been great for B2C business marketing, but is definitely shifting: “Facebook is slowly moving towards a more professional and more career oriented service. They have recently introduced changes to personal profiles, giving more space to work and education information.” If you are looking to connect with expats for professional reasons, try the Expat Network. You can post your CV and look for employment opportunities based on your skillset and language ability.
Consult An Expat Coach or Local Business OrganisationIf you’re looking for a more detailed approach to getting to know a country and feel like guide books and blogs can’t help with the deeper cultural expectations, an expat coach can help. The Expat Coach Directory is a great place to find the right specialist. Some coaches, such as Dr. Mark Glazebrook, even specialise in personal branding and executive coaching. These coaches will help you move beyond basic mannerisms and into deeper management strategies. Igor Utsumi, a staff writer at the Brazil Business, explains that Brazil is following the lead of many countries and investing heavily in recruiting and training expats. “Almost 287,000 foreigners had been living in Brazil for more than five years. This represented a growth of nearly 87% in comparison with the previous census.” To make the transition seamless and reduce the cost to businesses, i’s in the country’s best economic interest to make your life easier and keep you around, so take advantage of these resources!
Learn the LanguageGoing to language classes has several benefits:
- Learning the language will make it much easier to communicate.
- Locals will appreciate you making the effort.
- You can meet other soon-to-be expats there.
- It’s a good place to start networking and building your new social group.