Having lived approx 1/2 of my life overseas since I was 17. I think the best way to adjust is start learning customs and languages before you go. That way you have some expectations of what you will encounter. Especially the language, many many folks will go the extra mile to help you when you are polite, and attempt to use their language to seek assistance. Rosetta Stone is a god send for this...
For me it was hard as i am not too good at languages ,but i was lucky as i married a Danish woman and i adjusted too Danish life as my wife comes from a big family and i was made welcomed .Going too school in Denmark is free so that was a big help i am still learning the language and hope to talk fluent one day.I still miss England as i have family there and 2 sons but i would not change any thing . My life is here now and i enjoy that i can still learn so much from another culture that helps me to grow as a person. As they say in Danish : " Jeg er glad for, at være en af det danske samfund."
Not easy at all, got to have the right attitude to start with. I came to Australia when I was 16 yrs old and lived in a boarding school. English wasn't my first language, first time away from my family. Tried to make friends and learn the local culture asap and believe that things will get better. It did, I ended up migrating to Australia years later. You know, it really doesn't matter which country, people are people, there are always people who will help you and be friend with you, others who will be racist and rude to you.
Speaking the language is the key - without it, you will always feel like an outsider... with it you will be able to take part in the daily conversations and become one with the group, one with the people. Through the language you come to understand the country's system, its culture, its identity - and feel safe and secure, knowing how everything "works".
You don't have to give your own identity up either - often you can be treated as special, and respected, if you embrace and respect the country you are in, and not alienate yourself.
And the best way to become fluent in the language is to immerse yourself in it - live and work in the language, and don't just hang around your own kind.
I've been in the Netherlands for 20 years. I know English people who have been here longer than me and still don't feel "at home", because they cling on to English. This "is" my home now and I feel as comfortable here as I would in England.
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