I just read an article about expatriates on the FT’s weekend edition. The author touched upon a few good points that people go through when living abroad. People, at first, are enchanted and curious by the new culture, but as soon as “the novelty wears off, the long-term challenges emerge.” She went on to discuss other problems facing expatriates and their families, but one point she made that I’d like to stress is that there’s no point in living in another country/culture if one doesn’t allow oneself to experience it on its own merit. One should not compare the new home abroad with home back home, it defeats the purpose.
In my opinion, there’s nothing more interesting than learning a new languages and cultures. But if this is not how most people feel, however, people would just need to learn how to take advantage of the new environment. It’s easier said than done, but it’s doable nonetheless. This has been my mantra (ever since my husband opened my eyes to it): “Take the best out of each culture and forget the rest.”
Every culture has its good and bad, even our own. The smart thing to do is to realize that and consciously take advantage of the good things while downplaying the bad ones, in case you can’t forget them completely. There’s no point in bitching about how bad this or that is here in this new country… nothing constructive will ever come out of that. On the other hand, positive outlook opens up opportunities, and in the end one becomes increasingly globalized by being able to understand other cultures’ idiosyncrasies.