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Local or from your country of origin?

I was asked this week if I think it is recommendable, in the country of destination, to make an effort to enter the local society or to remain in the ethnic or national group from your country of origin.

I cannot give a straight yes or no answer. Integration is affected by various factors. I will list some of them:

1. Language. If I don’t speak the local language it will be very difficult for me to have meaningful relationships with local people.

2. Is the local society open to foreigners? Many times we want to reach out, but face a closed door. This could be because we don't understand the local cultural codes.

3. Do I have opportunities to meet locals: courses, studies, work? It should be noted that in some places the work culture entails not to enter the "private garden" (as someone told me in an interview for a research).

4. Am I open to change myself? Or is it convenient for me to join a social group where I understand the cultural codes, the mentality and avoid pain?

5. Am I ready to invest in learning a new culture, to make changes and to know that it sometimes involves frustrations?

6. Do I make social connections quickly ? Am I introvert? Am I looking for deep connections (here the issue of language is very important)?

Therefore, I can’t give a clear cut answer. Each one of us has his own road to walk.

What kind of relations do you wish for yourself? Did you find it in your new place?

Dr. Efrat Tzadik

Personal development and empowerment coach

"Find your home away from home"

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