How to learn about a culture before moving abroad

Before moving abroad, most people are busy preparing for the practical matters of making a move. Whether it’s researching their new home or arranging car shipping HK. Or they are busy making arrangements with moving companies or filling out visa applications. Also, many people try to learn language skills before they move abroad. However, people are wrong to think that becoming fluent in the new language is all that needs for intercultural communication. Just the opposite, social interaction is more about cultural subtleties than it’s about words. Therefore, in this article, we’ll help you on how to learn about a culture before moving abroad. Stay tuned and get prepared for such a challenge properly.

What is there to learn about a culture before moving abroad?

As we already mentioned, linguistic skills will help you to understand and be understood abroad. However, intercultural communication is more than just language. There are many more things to learn about a culture before moving abroad. It goes deeper than the surface. So, you should get acquainted with:

  • Local language.
  • Forms of greeting and addressing.
  • Dress codes.
  • Attitudes toward smoking and alcohol.
  • Sociability.

Also, you should have some knowledge and understanding of your new country’s daily schedules, gestures, body language, and punctuality. That is especially important if you’re moving far away, for instance to China. Because as soon as you arrive, you might need to store your items. Therefore, you have to prepare and find the best Kwun Tong storage before you move abroad. You see, there’s much more to learn about a culture than just the language.

A notebook, a pen and a laptop
Getting to genuinely know another culture means learning about all of its details.

Avoid mistakes about a country’s culture before moving abroad

Before you start learning about a culture, you have to know some possible missteps ex-pats often make. One of them is assuming that the new home country’s culture is just about heritage, religion, or family life. This kind of assumption is one of the most prevailing myths about what culture is. However, in reality, cultural differences are often so subtle and can inevitably cause great confusion and miscommunication. That’s why understanding a culture before moving abroad will help you avoid clumsy gestures due to imperfect knowledge.

Why learning about a culture before you move abroad is important?

Some statistics show that those who don’t put time into developing cultural competences are 40 percent more likely to repatriate. The reason is that they are unable to cope with living and working in a foreign culture. That’s the exact situation you have to avoid if you think about moving abroad. So, several practices and approaches can help you to become more interculturally effective. The bottom line is to learn about a culture before moving out of state by using a multi-dimensional approach.

How to use a multi-dimensional approach to learn culture before moving?

First, you have to set yourself some practical goals and stick to them. For starters, your goal should be to adapt to a new language and local conditions. Then, to live and work abroad with comfort. Finally, your goal should be to improve communication with others with trust and respect. Meanwhile, to obtain those goals, you have to work on certain soft skills for intercultural effectiveness. That means you have to be opened to personal commitment to change and flexibility. Then, you have to be opened to networking and relationship building. Last but not least, you have to commit to understanding and learning about a culture before moving abroad.

What does learning about a new culture mean?

To develop your cultural competence, you have to own knowledge, skills, and awareness. When applied, they will help you adapt to your new country and home.

Knowledge, skills, and awareness

Before you move abroad, you have to know about your new host culture. When it comes to skills, it’s all about applying theoretical knowledge about specific cultural differences to daily interaction. Also, those skills will help you adjust your behavior and to better understand and acknowledge differences. Eventually, they’ll help minimize the impact of culture shock and help you cope with moving stress. Finally, it will all lead you to get the awareness of what culture is and how you react to differences.

A world globe on a table
Knowledge will help you understand the culture before you move abroad.

What to know before you go?

After you’ve successfully applied all our tips, you are ready to embark on a new chapter in a new country. You can use the gained knowledge to immerse yourself in your new society and culture. Also, searching the Internet is a good way to deepen your knowledge. Then, once you arrive, take time to consider and put attention to the unseen layers. You will stumble upon unspoken rules that influence daily life. For instance, personal space, eye contact, gender roles, or familial interaction. Also, relationship to time and money and attitude toward regulations will be of great importance. Anyhow, by understanding these rules, you’ll be able to understand more about customs. Also, it will help you to adjust and integrate more easily through observation and imitation.

Learning about culture will increase your cultural awareness

On a road to cultural competence, cultural intelligence will play a significant part. It will help you banish preconceived stereotypes and clichés about your new country and its inhabitants. Therefore, it’s important to master the cultures’ etiquette norms. We’ve prepared some tips to help you adjust to almost any culture in the world, as they are universal.

  • Do your research about specific ways you might offend the locals and avoid them.
  • Learn the ways to greet people and to share a meal. Maybe these are two of the most important lessons before you move abroad.
  • Find about the local holidays. This will help you explore the cultural landscape of your new country.
  • Finally, never refuse a gift of food or drink people offer you. It is considered rude and you want to get along with your new neighbors, right?
Five different hands
By knowing aspects of other cultures, you’ll integrate easier.

The conclusion

While you learn about a culture before moving abroad, you’ll certainly have fun. There is always something exciting about meeting new cultures and countries, so enjoy every minute of it.

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