As a kid, I had always dreamt of immigrating to another country and obtaining a Green Card, just like the one my uncle possessed. Not knowing the real importance and value of Green Card, I thought these Green Cards were like a free pass that allowed you to have as many green marshmallows as you wanted. I had always been very fond of marshmallows and envied my cousin who I supposedly thought was getting a chance to have unlimited marshmallows all day.
After a very long time when I finally got to know the real purpose of a Green Card (and I had finally grown too tired of green marshmallows) I realized how brave my Uncle had been. Immigrating to another country is a challenging path laden with innumerable difficulties. It requires great courage to plan an overseas emigration and procure the Green Card or Permanent Resident Status for any country.
Overseas emigration is definitely a herculean task. People move to other countries in hope of finding better jobs and enjoying good living standards. Did you know that expats are more likely to be better entrepreneurs than anyone else? And you know why, because most expatriates spend all their lives staying in a cultural mosaic, being bullied by people at different places. Apologies for the satire, but surely your mind works a lot harder in adversity. When you are subjected to a hostile environment with churlish looks silently asking you to shut up, you automatically put in extra efforts.
But you can also be lucky to be part of a dynamic and welcoming culture. Besides it is also important to have a good cultural intelligence so that you can bridge the cultural gap at a new place. There are however, certain inevitable problems faced by people who immigrate from familiar confines of their own countries to a different country altogether. You can read along for some common problems faced by most emigrants.
Language is a medium to enhance knowledge and learn new things, which is the most important thing you need to do when you visit a new country. Not knowing the language can actually leave you feeling paralyzed and it could actually get worse when the natives of the new place are not friendly.
Once a frantic English caller called up a French Helpline number, and got the following response “Appuyez sur l’une pour le Francais, Appuyez sur deux pour le Francais et Appuyez sur trios pour le Francais. Pour toute autre langue, nous sommes desoles” which meant “Please press 1 for French, 2 for French and 3 for French. For any other language, we are sorry”. The poor Englishman could not even understand a word of French! You may find it amusing, but this unfortunately is a bitter reality faced by most immigrants to countries that speak different languages. To combat these language problems you need to learn the new language that is used for communication at the new place you are moving to.
Generally, people feel completely ignored and alienated at a new place. There can be many reasons for this alienation, starting from cultural ignorance, racial discrimination, hostility and differences in speaking dialects. If these problems continue to pester you, it is best to acquaint yourself with the new culture. Remaining culturally ignorant can subject you to the acrimonious of culturist hailing from different places. The fear of alienation makes most people immigrate to liberal countries like Singapore with a valid Singapore work permit. You can even get a ‘Permanent Resident’ status in Singapore, depending upon the credentials.
The problems resulted by the differences in physical appearance and homesickness can be tackled if you repose faith in yourself, and adopt a thick-skinned attitude. Let the silly remarks and instances of ignorance not let you down. You must be proud of your own cultural heritage and don’t fret about anything else. You can always call up some of your friends back home and laugh at your own cultural-inside jokes. This would help you get some good laughs and lift up your spirits, while also making you feel better.
Some people feel dejected due to dissatisfaction with their jobs and inability to lead the lives they dreamt of. A major cause of this problem is lack of prior planning and proper information. It is always recommended to research more about the place before you choose to settle down there. You could be getting a better pay package at a different country, but the high standards of living can actually force you lead the life of a poor pauper. So think twice before leaving your old job without simply plunging at any new work opportunity, even if it offers a higher paycheck.
Make sure you spruce up your cultural knowledge and increase your cultural quotient; else you could end up in some of the most embarrassing situations. One of my Spanish friends, Antony once found himself in the most unpleasant situation ever. Poor Antony once pecked his Saudi Arabian classmate on her cheek in the Middle East and discovered himself being confronted by a group of people with daggers drawn. Unfortunately for him, the casual peck in Spain was not perceived as that casual in the Middle East. He often tells me about this incident, while I still continue to think whether he really was that culturally ignorant!
Author Bio: Priyanka Iyer is an enthusiastic writer who loves to express herself and believes in living life to the fullest. As a business-enthusiast and travel buff, Priyanka has written about different topics related to travel, visa requirements for Singapore and relocation to foreign countries.