Culture & Society
In 2010, I left my home town in Romania, boarded a plane, and moved to Mexico. I did not know much about Mexico, except what I've seen in the Mexican telenovelas. I spent the next five years of my life living in Mexico, and then I moved to the United States. During those five years, I've learned new customs, a new language, and I learned how to interact in different social settings. But the most important thing I learned while living in Mexico is how to live and function in a new society. 

All the mixed feelings and difficult situations I was dealing with in the first few months, is known as cultural adaptation. Most people who live or study in a foreign country for some time, experience cultural stress and homesickness. 

It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed and frustrated when you are living abroad, and you should accept all these feelings as part of the cultural learning process. 

I've overcome all the different stages of cultural adaptations, and I learned to embrace the challenges that come with living abroad and learn from them.  

Vacation Mood: ON 

The first few weeks might feel like a nice vacation. You will probably act like a tourist, being excited about new sights and surroundings. Commonly, during these first weeks of euphoria and excitement, you will notice both similarities and differences between the two cultures. You've probably seen that the first weeks in the new country makes you feel very motivated and open-minded.

Back to Reality: Culture Shock and Homesickness

At this point in your journey, you will probably find yourself looking for a new job, hunting for an apartment and trying to adjust to your new life. As you are transitioning into the new culture, you might notice more difference between your home country and your adoptive country. Things that did not bother you, in the beginning, begin to surface. You might feel stressed by small problems and often frustrated if things are not going the way you were expecting. It is also during this stage that you are highly sensitive because you are missing your family and friends at home

"Feeling at Home" - Adaptation and Biculturalism 

After a few months of living abroad, you will find yourself more familiar with the country's culture and its values. Maybe you already got a job, and your life feels normal again. Or perhaps you made some new friends with whom you can return to your sense of humor and familiarity. You still experience from time to time a lack of motivation or homesickness, but these are moments that usually go away after a Skype call with your family and friends.

When you finally start feeling at home abroad, you no longer feel affected by the differences between the two cultures. You begin to enjoy the world around you, often wanting to learn more about other cultures and their traditions.

Living abroad does not mean that you don't get to share any more special moments with your family and friends. Make plans for keeping in touch with them and share your experiences with people back home. It will help you on a personal level, but it will also make your family happy to see the world through your eyes.

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