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9 min read
Living abroad permanently - how to feel at home quickly
Fri Sep 22 2023
If you are thinking about emigrating to another country, then a great adventure awaits you. At first, everything is foreign and exciting. Many emigrants who have been able to fulfill their dream of living in another country gladly embrace the new culture. However, after a few years, when everyday life has settled in and all the customs are no longer new and exciting, some of them may miss their familiar culture. If you want to live abroad in the long term, you should therefore take a close look at the customs and traditions of the country in question and carefully consider whether they suit your lifestyle.
What distinguishes life in different countries?
In order to get to know the culture intensively, it is of course necessary to stay in the respective place for a longer period of time. Therefore, we recommend that you spend several weeks or, even better, a few months in the respective country and not only go on holiday, but also get to know everyday life. This will give you a better idea of what to expect. To give you a brief overview of what to expect in different countries, we will briefly introduce you to the customs and traditions of the most popular emigration countries.
If you come to Germany as a foreigner, you will find quite good career opportunities. However, the culture takes some getting used to for many immigrants. One of the most famous German customs in the world is the Oktoberfest. Some immigrants therefore assume that such festivities and extensive beer consumption characterise German society. However, the Oktoberfest only takes place once a year. Instead of a joyous revelry where even strangers embrace and celebrate together, many immigrants are often confronted with cool and distant manners. Some immigrants, who are used to more cordial interactions, perceive this as dismissive behaviour towards them. When you settle in Germany, it is therefore important to realise that this is just part of the culture. Many people appreciate you, even if they keep a certain distance. There are also many other traditions that may seem unfamiliar at first - for example, the school cone with sweets for starting school, the Maypole to celebrate spring, or the custom of taking your shoes off at the front door so that your home doesn't get dirty.
Great Britain
Numerous emigrants are drawn to Great Britain. Many people speak English, the career opportunities are quite good and the country also has an impressive big city in London. However, the country is also known for its typical English weather. The number of rainy days is quite high here. This affects people so much that they often talk about the weather. If you want to emigrate to England, you should observe some typical manners. For example, it is common to form queues at the bus stop or in shops. If you don't join the queue, but simply push your way onto the bus as usual, it will be considered rude. Don't forget the English breakfast, which may seem a little hard to digest for many people from other countries. If you don't want to be confronted with eggs, bacon and refried beans early in the morning, you might want to avoid the English breakfast.
France is also a very popular destination for expatriates. The mild climate and beautiful coastal landscapes play an important role here - as does the exciting cultural life in the big city of Paris. One of the typical customs is the greeting with two kisses. One of the most important days of the year is 14 July - the French bank holidays. A big fireworks display and French flags in all the squares mark this event.
Spain is a country that many people choose as a destination for emigration because of its mild climate. But beware: it can also be quite chilly here in winter. There are quite a few emigrants who complain that they freeze here like never before. It is true that the temperatures here are much milder than in Germany, even in winter. But many houses are poorly heated or not heated at all. Therefore, it is often very chilly inside during the winter months. That's why it's important to pay attention to the heating when you're looking for a flat. In terms of culture, the bullfighting and flamenco are particularly well known. In the individual villages and towns, however, there are also many regional festivals. In particular, the festival in honour of the patron saint of the respective town often plays a very important role.
Bella Italia - who doesn't dream of living in Italy? But some emigrants find it difficult to get used to the customs in the country. It starts with the meal times. Dinner at six o'clock is usually only for holidaymakers. In Italy, most people eat much later. If you go out to eat with your work colleagues or friends, for example, you should take this into account. Also, it usually takes quite a while for the dishes to be served one by one. While it was said in the paragraph on Great Britain that people there always queue in a very orderly fashion, in Italy the exact opposite is the case. A certain amount of assertiveness is often necessary here in order to be served in a shop.
The Netherlands
If you emigrate from Germany to the Netherlands, the differences in culture are not too great at first glance. However, there are some differences here as well. For example, you will be called by your first name quickly - and usually without being asked. In addition, the manners here are characterised by great openness and honesty. This means that criticism is also expressed openly.
Everyday life in Switzerland also has many similarities to Germany and other Central European countries. However, there are also some differences. For example, national pride is very strong here. You can see this not only in the typical Swiss flag that can be found in most front gardens. Traditional music and costumes also play a major role in the everyday life of the inhabitants. Problems may arise with the language. If the Swiss speak among themselves, you probably won't understand much. However, courses in Schwyzerdütsch are rarely offered. As a result, some immigrants feel excluded when talking to colleagues and friends. After a while, however, you will probably master the country's typical dialect.
If you emigrate to Austria, you will probably find your way around quickly. Not only the language, but also many customs and traditions are very similar to those in Germany. In the Alpine region in particular, however, traditional customs, folk music and traditional costumes are more important than in most parts of Germany.
Get to know new cultures and preserve your own customs
If you want to live permanently in another country, a certain ability to adapt is necessary - at least if you want to integrate into the cultural life of your new place of residence. In order to make friends and come into contact with other people, a certain openness to other cultures is indispensable. But living abroad often gives your own customs a new meaning. For example, many people celebrate traditional festivals in their families more intensively than before in order to maintain their ties to their homeland. It is also a popular occasion to get in touch with people in the new place of residence. For example, if you invite your new colleagues to a small celebration with typical German food and some traditional customs, this offer will certainly be gladly accepted.
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