Some will enter a new a new culture claiming to have all the answers, but it has been our experience that we do not have the answers; therefore we must become the learner. We must defer to the other and their expertise in experiencing life in this culture. I recently had the “opportunity” to experience one of these differences while trying to get the car registration renewed. From our cultural experience this should be a simple process, in the States you can take care of this administrative task through the mail. Well, 12 government and bank officials, four institutions, and three days later, WITH the help of a local friend, the task was finally complete. This was a difficult and somewhat frustrating experience, not because their process is “wrong” but only because of the differences between our home culture and our adopted culture. Every time we experience something new it is a learning process, and we can say that we have learned something new from that. It is hard to try things that are new, but it is imperative in order to learn and grow.
From now on we will be individuals and a family living between two cultures. It is the choice that we have made. We have come with our own personal experiences, feelings, behaviors and beliefs. The task of cross-cultural adaptation requires that we learn the rules, societal norms, customs and languages of our new culture and begin to integrate ourselves into our new society by adjusting to and accepting the new standards. While we will adapt to our new culture and integrate ourselves as much as possible we approach new relationship with vulnerability and a willingness to learn and change. In this we can build meaningful relationships.