How to adapt in a foreign country? Elizaveta Filippova, an experienced psychologist from Barcelona, talks about this.
Not everyone finds such events easy. This is a major step associated with stress and long-term adaptation. People may face psychological problems that need to be addressed. It can be especially difficult for students who have moved to study. Elizaveta Filippova gives advice on how to cope with psychological difficulties abroad.
When I moved, I thought that many clients would come with just this problem - the problem of adaptation. It turned out differently: there were few of them. People have many other problems that become more noticeable in unfamiliar places. There are also those who run abroad for a new happy life, but moving alone is not enough.
Terms of adaptation
Adaptation is a matter of time, everything is individual. Its completion occurs approximately when a person has found a so-called comfort zone for himself. Someone is looking for her in a new culture, someone is finding compatriots. If we call the average figures, then we get approximately 1-2 years. Factors such as age, reasons for moving, work, financial situation play a role.
Common student problems
Young men and women often come with problems that they had before moving. Someone experiences difficulties in communication: this is influenced by a new culture, which presupposes other, unusual ways and methods of interaction between people. The result is a feeling of loneliness. Not everyone knows how to quickly establish friendly relations with foreigners.
Who is this experience good for?
The experience of living abroad is still useful for everyone, and difficulties are inevitable. I think there are very few people for whom living abroad can be devastating.
Studying in another country will definitely suit those who love to learn the world and are not afraid to try new things. It will be difficult to be intolerant and arrogant: despising local residents, they themselves incur a negative attitude from them and seem to be convinced of their judgments.
If you are having a hard time responding to change, you should plan your move carefully to soften the transition from familiar conditions to new ones. For example, you can choose an accommodation similar to yours, take important things with you, arrive early.
The main condition for comfort
Do not forget that you must have a place where you can relax and be alone. Exercise, eat well, maintain your basic comfort. If you have to rent an apartment with other students, choose your neighbors carefully: cheerful people can sometimes get tired if you are around them all the time.
Maintain communication with family, friends back home. But be careful, otherwise it will prevent you from plunging into the new environment and adapting to it.
In my life, I have moved abroad twice. The first experience was at the age of 14 and was unsuccessful. The second one is at 25 and still lasts. The first time I was still a teenager, I could not make decisions on my own, I lacked my own motivation. The second time it was my personal decision, I was completely ready for it, despite the difficulties.
At first, I lived with new friends who studied with me at the same university, although we did not have a common language. Thanks to this experience, I was able to quickly learn Spanish and adapt. My friends and I were united due to the fact that many came from afar.
Despite the cultural characteristics that are still difficult to get used to, I was lucky to meet many wonderful people in Barcelona.
Tips for students
- Listen to your inner voice.
- Choose what you are really interested in.
- The decisions should be your own.
- Communicate with those who are close to you and do not demand the impossible from yourself.
- Errors are normal.
For many, a moment may come when they lose heart, everything seems in vain. And I had it. But it goes away. If you feel bad, use the help of friends, parents, a psychologist - almost all problems can be solved. You can always return if your stay abroad turns out to be unbearable: in any case, you received an important and rewarding experience.
In Russian culture, it is not customary to seek psychological help, for some reason this is considered a manifestation of weakness. This practice is common in Europe and America . From the feedback from my clients, I understand that I helped them cope with difficulties.
What to look for
A sharp change in living conditions can cause serious internal problems. If you feel that this condition significantly worsens your standard of living and does not go away, contact a specialist. Then you will be able to cope with the adaptation and help in time if the problems are serious. Pay attention to the following symptoms:
- lack of vitality
- depressed mood
- increased anxiety
- addiction to addiction
- sleep disorders.
I believe that our attitude to the world is mirrored. Be open, friendly, and you will be answered in kind!