If you're a new (or old) expatriate, these tips can help you to successfully manage change.
Get involved. Plan activities for the week, the month and the year. You need to have something to look forward to.
Create traditions from home. Find a BALANCE between the two cultures. Understand that including the host culture in your life does not mean you are reducing your home culture.
Manage the amount of contact with other expatriates in the country. They can be helpful, but balance is the key.
Learn the language as best you can. Keep your goals realistic.
Bring items with you which remind you of home, specifically sensory items such as sights, sounds and smells.
Reflect on how you have managed other transitions in your life (death, domestic moves, divorce, job change, etc.). This is life. How can you use some of the same healthy coping strategies to deal with cultural change and transition?
Listen more than you talk. Observe your surroundings. Listen and observe more than you describe and evaluate. This can help reduce stereotyping.
Be aware of your own cultural values, beliefs, behaviors and stereotypes. Acknowledgement of difference is the start in managing cultural differences. Differences are neither good nor bad; rather have opportunities and challenges that need to be managed.
Develop empathy. See it from the others person’s perspective.
Discuss repatriation NOW for your personal and professional life. You’ll be happy you did once you return.