How easy is it to adapt to a new culture?

Not easy at all.I live since 6 years in Kentucky, United States, and my sister has been living in Italy for 7 years.

We do not find it easy at all.

Certainly coming from the Netherlands, one of the better countries to live in, scoring in the top 10 of happy and prosperous countries, it is not easy to get used to another country.

The Netherlands is extremely luxurious.No, really. Saunas on every corner, therapists uh… Also at every corner, and you can not think of it or you can do a course in it or get a training or a treatment in it.

We are very spoiled in the Netherlands.Women have maternity leave, MEN have maternity leave, you are paid when you are sick, you call your boss by her first name and you know the names of her children, and you are going to bubbling on Fridays with your colleagues, you have 4 weeks of holiday AND a lot of free Days on top of it.

That is not all in America.Really not. Saunas do not do them here outside the cities, because naked = sex and so wrong, therapists are only psychotherapists and you really have to pay yourself, if you get sick you have to hope that you will not be fired, and give your opinion does not anyone , unless it is an accepted opinion (it is an accepted opinion that Negroes are worthless, for example, so that may be said. On the other hand, it should not be said that as a white woman you have a black boyfriend, because then you are simply fired. Saying that you are atheist is also not convenient).

Men and women have divorced lives here, except if they are married.My wife has been struggling with my ex for three years with the “problem”, because we have children together who ask a lot of work. People here don’t do that. And if you do, you can do that because you still want your ex. That it is better for the children is here unexplored terrain.

Doctors and veterinarians are gods.Our little dog had to go to the vet, and I kept asking questions, until at some point they really exploded from frenzy, and we turned the clinic off. Yes, really. She felt that I challenged her authority.

I had the feeling in many respects that I had traveled 50 years back in time.America is a modern country? Meh… That is really overly exaggerated. Some parts of America are modern. But everything outside the big cities and university cities? Really not. In the Netherlands, 98% of people have a computer and connection to the Internet. Not here. Not yet half, I estimate. A lot of people I speak have no idea of computers.

And then we don’t even talk about habits, and words that turn out to have a much more specific or lesser-specified meaning than you thought.

I found it easy to get used to this.It really took four years before that started to come a little. Now I’m used to it.

Time to come back.


No really.Luckily I have my wife so far that we are moving to the Netherlands in a few years. I miss my sons photografy too much. I will be happy to be back in the Netherlands. I will miss the beautiful surroundings, because Kentucky is really gorgeous, and I will miss it again, because we have short winters here and wonderfully long warm summers, but most aspects of America I really won’t miss.

Far from simple.I have been working on the Dutch culture for 62 years, but I am still getting farther behind.

It is mainly about your personality and how much connection you feel with a country.I’ve been to Indonesia twice (together for over 6 months) and that country I found great, it was right a place in my heart. I found it not difficult at all to switch to all meals rice, the warm weather and the new cultural things I found to be very interesting and I tried to adapt as much as possible. The differences I found often funny but bridging by adjusting and communicating. When I went to the Philippines, the experience was quite different. The mentality and culture is different. It’s much harder to make friends, though everyone is nice. We talk a lot behind your back and communication can be very unclear. All cultures have a different side. Filipino people are always in for a party and, for example, feel totally no shame to be in the middle of a shopping mall karaoke, where everyone can hear it. Even though I didn’t feel like that connection, as I experienced in Indonesia, I have been having fun here for about a year and a half now. After we had found a fine church, where we closed very good friendships, life here was much nicer for us.

Finally, I’m married to an Indian man.I have been to India twice and I would like to live in the future for a period in India, what a country, great! The culture is so rich and deep and the food is just the end. When I was dating/married with my husband, there were quite a few things that we both had to adapt to. For example, I am now more cautious with what I wear, because my husband is very sensitive to the looks of other men to me. He in turn has to get used to my immediate language and has become much more direct.

I find new cultures challenging and I enjoy them.I believe it is usually a matter of looking at the positive things and taking into account each other. Communication is also important. If you make friends in a new culture and explain to them why you sometimes react differently/behave differently than is customary for them, they can often cope with them. At the end of the story, it really has to do with your personality. Some people are home sparrows in the area of their own country, family and culture other people (like me) are real free birds that can iron down anywhere and be happy.

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