For those of us fortunate enough to travel to or stay in another country, the experience can’t be understated. The landscape, the architecture, the people, and, of course, the food, all make up an experience that we hold close to our hearts. For those newly entering this world, however, the adjustment period can be a difficult one. Alienation when in a new country can be a real problem that inhibits our initial enjoyment, and while time can often be enough to allow us to adjust, there are some additional methods to help us integrate more smoothly.
Know the Local Customs
Whether you’ve lived a cloistered life or if you already have experience as a world traveler, there are always going to be local customs that confuse newcomers. Quite often these include taboos that are innocuous enough to us to not be noticed, but which could have major negative implications in the country you visit.
A common example in Thailand could be seen in how Thai people treat money. Printed with King’s face, defacing the money is considered far worse here than in other countries. Dropping money and then stomping on it to stop it from flying away is also considered extremely disrespectful for this reason, aided by how the bottoms of feet are considered offensively dirty. Luckily, learning customs like these can be as simple as a Google search, and locals are likely to be understanding if you quickly correct an accidental misstep.
Learn Some of the Language
If you’re only going to temporarily stay in a new country then you don’t need to know everything, but a little understanding of the language can go a long way. People are far more likely to appreciate a foreigner who makes an effort, and picking up some key phrases and skills can be much easier than might think.
Consider a stay in Florence, for example. Modern language apps can mean the best way to learn Italian involves only minimal ‘hard’ study time. Instead, users gain language skills through essentially watching television shows and pressing the subtitles to understand common Italian words and phrases, and context. Not only is this approach far more palatable to most people, but the shows involved can also simultaneously give learners insights into some otherwise unfamiliar aspects of local culture.
Prepare Your Hardware
Most people will understand that staying in a new place means taking the appropriate clothing, but far more often we misunderstand the different demands of device power systems. At the base level, this means finding adapter plugs for the wall that fit, but these can be limited at best. Basic power adapters can often fall short when integrating with more demanding hardware such as laptops.
For this reason, travelers might consider purchasing entirely newly charging cables that better integrate with local systems without the need for an extra adapter. This will become less of an issue in the future, in Europe at least, as the EU has proposed that tech companies make phones and other small electronic devices compatible with USB-C. This universal approach has been suggested with the aim of reducing waste.
The big takeaway from all these elements is that travelers to new countries need to be prepared above all else. While there’s a romantic aspect of escaping to a new place for some fresh air and to spread your wings, humans are rarely equipped for such a sudden drastic change on any level. For your safety, comfort, and to get the most out of a stay in a new country, put in the work, and your chances of a positive experience will be all the better for it.