1 May 2010

New country, old problems

When economy starts having serious problems people start moving around, trying to find a better life in different countries. They search for new opportunities, better jobs and better financial situation. However sometimes they find more of the same, and with the plus of having no family and friends’ support. Other times they really find what they were looking for. Either way it’s not easy to be in a country that we don’t know, where the way you express yourself can be perceived as something other than usual – as too aggressive, or too anti-social. Being in a different country implies that you get to know and understand the culture and the “how-to-do”, so you won’t put yourself in an awkward position… If you ever talked with a foreigner that came to your country you probably heard a lot of funny (hopefully!) stories. A Portuguese friend of mine discovered in between some laughs that “rubber” in USA does not mean “eraser” as in Portugal!... A Brazilian friend arrived in Portugal and found out that we have a pastry called “queque” but “queca”, a similar word, has a very different meaning… Well, those can be funny moments, but others can be quite embarrassing.

The more different from your culture is the new country you are in, the more difficult it can be. And time goes by, and maybe you have children in a different country, and soon you’ll find out those aspects of that new culture in them. And what about if you stay for 20 or 30 years in another country, and feel your heart divided… or if you find out you were 20 or 30 years in a country you dislike…?

There is so much we can say and write about this… I believe we could have here many different stories from those who read us. There are lot of people dealing with those same questions every day and who can understand what we are trying to say, and there are also professional ones that can support you during that transition and adaptation.



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