Navigating the journey of living and working in a foreign country can be both thrilling and challenging. It demands courage, adaptability, and a broad perspective. Sarah Currer, who was born and raised in Austin, Texas, discussed her experiences, the challenges she faced, and how she bridged the cultural gap while working and living in England.
Sarah’s experience in England was more than just adapting to driving on the other side of the road. What caught her off guard were the subtle cultural nuances. “I had this expectation that because we looked similar and we spoke the same language, culturally, we would be more similar,” she said. But moving from the United States to England, she was reminded that differences aren't wrong, they're just different. And sometimes those differences manifest in ways we least expect.
“Sarcasm is a big part of English culture,” - Sarah Currer
“Sarcasm is a big part of English culture,” she noted. The more straightforward communication style, which she initially found challenging, became a lesson in adaptability. This is a testament to the need for understanding and patience when navigating a new cultural landscape.
Sarah’s secret to assimilating in a foreign land is simple: Say 'yes' when invited into someone’s home. It’s in these intimate settings that you see how locals truly live, beyond the tourist façade. By sharing these experiences, you connect on a deeper level and get insights into the cultural fabric of the society.
Building connections wasn’t always easy. But by actively seeking out community – be it through regular social events – Sarah found that consistency in interaction was key. “Anything that has repetition...where you start seeing the same people over and over, is the key to finding strong friendships, especially abroad,” she advised. She further added, "Sometimes, you just need one friend. One person who understands you, or is willing to try, can make all the difference when you're thousands of miles away from home."
"Sometimes, you just need one friend. One person who understands you, or is willing to try, can make all the difference when you're thousands of miles away from home." -Sarah Currer
Living abroad gives one a unique worldview. By being part of different cultures, Sarah felt enriched, carrying forward the best parts of each experience. The greatest lesson she derived was a shift in perspective - rather than seeing differences as barriers, she saw them as opportunities to learn and grow.
This mindset not only enriched her personal life but also bolstered her professional journey with Adilstone Group. With their focus on international placements, her cross-cultural experience made her uniquely positioned to understand and cater to the complexities of international relocations.
For those considering a stint abroad, Sarah’s advice is: “Always say yes to travel and new adventures.” Equipping oneself with knowledge about the culture and seeking advice from those who've been there can make the transition smoother. But above all, be ready to learn, adapt, and celebrate the journey of discovering a new culture.