THE CIRCULAR

Culture Change – The Realities of Moving to Another Country

Photo Created by GDJ for Pixabay

The prospect of leaving home and moving to another country is always exciting if a little daunting. But what is it really like to settle down in a place that is different from what you are used to? This article looks at the realities of moving to another country and getting used to the cultural changes faced.

Moving away is never easy. Choosing what to take with you, making sure that you have everything that you need – and finding the right place to live! There are so many challenges to moving to a new place. But what about moving to an entirely different country?

When I was twenty, I moved to Germany for a year on an Erasmus program. Moving abroad for a full year was something I never expected to do. Having to move away from my family and settle into a German university was not something easy. There was a lot that I had to get used to. I was in a place where everything was different; the language, the food, the culture. It was daunting, to say the least.

A view of the main town center in Trier, Germany. (Photo by Eidhne Gallagher for TheCircular.org)

But as time passed and I settled into the country, I found that I really enjoyed everything about Germany. I began to make new friends, I was able to travel to parts of the country that I didn’t expect to see, and I was able to enjoy the different cultural festivities of Germany. I was actually really sad to move back to Ireland at the end of my Erasmus year.

Many Irish nationalists are leaving the country these days for many reasons. In 2021, it was stated that over 54,000 people emigrated from Ireland in the last year. For some who leave Ireland, it’s the prospect of a new job, for others, it’s the idea of starting afresh in a new place. Those who have studied languages such as German and Spanish are given opportunities to work in other countries. I spoke to several people who left Ireland for different reasons.

‘I wanted to move for educational reasons, as well as just making the most out of my life.’ one explained. ‘I didn’t want to live at home anymore.’ another said. ‘I also wanted a chance to make new friends and experience a different way of life.’ Those who I spoke to, also revealed the challenges that they faced. ‘The language barrier is always a problem if you don’t know the language. Documentation and finding a place to live is also annoying.’

What about people who are moving to Ireland? In 2021, the country has seen over 65,000 people move into the country. Many have their reasons for moving into the country. I spoke to two Spanish nationalists about their reasons for moving to Ireland in the podcast, ‘Coffee, Chatter and Sharing Cultures’ about why they chose to move to Ireland. Both had similar reasons as to why they moved away from home and they explained the difficulties that they faced in their first few months in settling into the country.

As they mentioned, making the decision to move to Ireland was not an easy one. Settling into a place with a different culture to their own was a challenge. One Spanish nationalist compared the Irish culture to Spanish. She said that the biggest difference between Ireland and Spain is definitely the weather!

The prospect of moving abroad is certainly a challenge. But from speaking to those who have both left Ireland and moved to Ireland, it’s a challenge that is certainly worth undertaking.

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