Written by Augustina Baker
There are millions of ex-pats from all over the globe who are scattered in different countries. Most of these expats had gone searching for greener pastures for their families, for study, or other reasons. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, some people managed to go back to their home countries, but some did not. These expats have been stuck in foreign countries and face many challenges such as:
● Culture shock
Culture shock is the most significant problem most expats face when they move to a new country. Once the excitement of the move to a new country wears off, reality sets in. You discover you have to learn everything afresh as nothing is the same as your home country. The food, language, and culture are different, and it takes some time to learn what is acceptable or not. Things that are acceptable back home may be deemed as insulting in another culture.
Living in a foreign country makes most expats feel alienated for different reasons. The most common reason why an expat would feel alienated is feeling like an outsider, especially if they have not made friends in the host country. It takes time and effort for an expat to fit it, and most experience a lot of anxiety before getting used to it.
Loneliness sets in when the excitement of the move fades away. You become homesick and miss your family and friends back home. The Covid pandemic lockdowns made it worse for expats who were locked in with no family for company.
● Language barrier
The language barrier is also a part of why most expats feel alienated. Not being able to communicate with the locals is frustrating. You may have to rely on translators who may not properly convey your message or use an electronic translator.
How to make your stay more comfortable
You can do a few things to make your new country feel more like home:
1. Establish a new tradition or routine
To stave off feelings of alienation and loneliness, establish new traditions that will help keep you busy and give your life some semblance of order. You can start going to the movies on weekends, have a gym day, go to the local library or take tours around the region you live in.
2. Watch your favorite shows span>
Make a date with your favorite shows and sports back home via a VPN. The reason why expats use a VPN is that it bypasses any geo-restrictions by allowing you to connect to a server back home. This masks your IP address and ‘tricks’ the system that you are watching from your home country.
3. Keep in touch with family
Keeping in touch with your family and friends back home will keep you from feeling too lonely. Make regular telephone and video calls to catch up with everyone back home at least twice a week or more if you can.
4. Learn the language
If you have moved before learning the local language, make an effort to learn it. This will help you communicate better, and the locals will be very willing to help you learn to speak it better. You can make a friend whom you can teach English (or your native language) in exchange for them teaching you theirs.
5. Make friends with other expats
Find out if there is some sort of expat community around where you live. You may be pleasantly surprised to connect with your countrymates who live nearby and also make new friends from other countries who are in the same situation.
Being stuck in a foreign country with no friends can be very lonely and depressing. The Covid-19 situation does not seem to be going away soon, and we have to live with the situation as it is. If you are stuck in another country and unable to go home, make the most of it and try to make your stay more bearable.