Working in a foreign country is as nerve-racking as it is exciting. All the opportunities before you like meeting new people and immersing yourself in a new culture are tempting to dive into all at once. Before you get ahead of yourself, though, remember that you went there for a mission: to do a job and to do it well.
Treat it like a school project and do your research. You’ll want to go in with enough know-how and strategies to address the possible mishaps that can happen. After all, there’s nothing like walking into your new office like a tourist to make a poor first impression.
Invest in a Relationship with Your Colleagues
Make establishing good working relationships a priority. It’s the local employees who can orient you best on the typical work culture in that country, and the specific one you practice at your workplace.
Having people coach you on your first few days or weeks will also make you feel less overwhelmed. This is especially true if there are language barriers, and you’re finding it challenging to apply what you learned in your classes.
One of the easiest ways to invest in your relationships is to spend time with them and taking note of special occasions. Most cultures appreciate gift-giving, but make sure to do your research so as not to offend anyone. Stick to safe choices like wine gifts or a dinner out on their birthday or to celebrate a promotion. If you want to give something more sentimental, steer clear of taboos, and present the gift in the right way. It makes people happy when you respect their culture.
Give Yourself Margin
Adjusting to a new country and a new work environment takes time. It can also take a couple of mishaps. Give yourself a margin to commit errors. Beating yourself up for every mistake won’t spare you from making new ones in the future.
Bear in mind that it’s normal. You’re adjusting to a different lifestyle, and it’s not easy. Now is an excellent time to pay attention to your mental health. If you neglect it in your pursuit of pleasing everyone at work, you risk suffering from more significant issues in the future.
This could mean meditating before going to work or talking yourself out of a whirlpool of negativity when you do something embarrassing. Go with what works for you, even if that’s crying yourself to sleep. Acknowledging feelings of fear, insecurity, and homesickness isn’t a sign of weakness.
It’s Not All Work
Take the time to do different things on weekends or to visit new places after office hours. Work performance depends as much on effective self-care as it does on good job output.
Schedule trips to tourist spots and consider enrolling in classes. It’s better if they’re activities that help you unwind on a physical and mental level.
Exposing yourself to new people and experiences achieves two things for you. First, they revitalize you for another week of hard labor. Second, they boost your confidence, and confidence is essential to stand out in the workplace.
Get rid of the old mindset that all work and no play is the path to success. Balancing discipline, rest, and adventures results in a well-rounded employee.
Do all these with a positive attitude. Your perspective on the ups and downs of your work abroad experience has the most significant contribution to your happiness. It’s by expecting that it won’t be perfect but enjoying the ride anyway that you maximize this milestone in your life.