Challenge of the Week: 5 Options to consider when thinking about integration into a foreign country

integration

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/Following Challenge of the Week is a former “Challenge 11: Is it worth integrating into a foreign country that you are not really in love with?”/

 

Dear Thomas,

That’s a challenge where we have quite a vast variety of experience. While Marta has attempted to integrate, Anna has decided to remain in the “pink international bubble,” and we have close friends who represent all the 50 shades of grey (pink?) on the integration level, so…. it was not that difficult to come up with 5 options.

 

The first three options are on the DO integrate side, the remaining two are on the DON’T integrate side

Well, you don’t seem to be completely convinced that it is indeed a place you truly WANT to live in. On paper it looks like a great deal, very reasonable choice. But if you’ve been listening to us for a while, you know that we like to scratch the surface and we always encourage people to dig deeper both into their feelings and thoughts. Sooooo, we will simply ask you to engage both your emotions and your mind, so that you can select the truly best option for YOU.

Have a look at the previous Challenge of The Week: 5 Ways to deal with an Unsatisfying Work situation & to get Your Dream Job, especially Option 1 if you want to support yourself in finding the answer

Whether it’s worthwhile integrating or investing your time in getting familiar with each other’s countries and cultures… in our minds it’s not an “either or” question. You can do it all. And it’s definitely a great idea to get to know your partner’s cultural background before you have kids. We differ as people, and where and how we were raised impacts us as future parents greatly. So, yes, we’d recommend doing that no matter if you choose to integrate in a third country or not.

 

So how do you move on? 

Of course you need to ask yourself the mother of all questions: Do you really want to stay here for good and integrate?

If the answer is “OH YES”, then the first three options are for you (for best results, bundle them). If the answer is somewhere close to “Hell No” have a look at the final two options. If it’s “oh well, I don’t know yet” read it all.

 

You can listen to our discussion in Ep09 of our podcast and read your 5 Options below

 

Ep09 Five Options to consider when thinking about integration into a foreign country

 

But let’s recall your Challenge first:

Me and my girlfriend are together for 4 years now. We met in a “neutral country” as we were both studying here as international students. After getting our diplomas we both found jobs here and decided to stay.

Everything is ok so far. We are having a good life and we are happy with our lives but lately we started to think about our future. We have realised that due to couple of important factors (good jobs, good social conditions, convenience) we will most probably stay here for couple of more years. We also consider to have our first child here as the country we live in provides really good conditions for working parents.

So what is the problem?

We are not really integrated. After all these years we still live in a “pink international bubble”. Our friends are all foreigners. We don’t speak the language, which is quite difficult to learn (but if there is a will there is a way). We are not much interested in social life, politics or cultural affairs.

It worked well so far, but now when we think about staying hem re longer and starting a family, we are not sure if we can maintain the status quo and live the international life. We started considering to integrate better but we don’t even know where to start. The country’s culture is rather closed and natives stick together (they are quite relaxed though). We asked for advice from the natives and all of them jokingly answered “You should find yourself a partner from here, that’s the best way to integrate”. Well, that is obviously not an option.

Is it worth integrating at all? Perhaps better invest time in learning each other culture and language instead?

You both live in a foreign country, do you have any tips/options on what to do?

 

Ready for Your 5 Options?

Option 1: Get familiar with the language & the culture
Option 2: Find out what locals do & join them
Option 3: Integrate through the kid.
Option 4: Stay in the “comfy pink international bubble”
Option 5: Consider moving to another country

 

 

To read more about each Option, please click on the icons below

 

Option 1 from 5 options     Option 2 from 5 Options     Option 3 from 5 options     Option 4 from 5 Options     Option 5 from 5 Options

 

Summary

The is no “right and wrong” when it comes to deciding on how much you should integrate in the country where you currently live.

To a large degree it depends on how likely you see yourself staying there for good. Is it worth considering moving to your partner’s country? It sure is. A way to guide yourself towards a good decision is by imagining yourself and your future kid in a given country, speaking the local language and seeing what kind of feelings it brings. It’s definitely important to get to know your partner’s cultural background, either way. Raising a kid together requires a lot of alignment and compromise, and both your cultural backgrounds impacts how you behave.

Or maybe you are both actually into a completely new adventure? In a country where you’d be more likely to want to integrate? Until your kid goes to school it’s actually quite easy to move around. So, if you still don’t know where you want to stay for good… you can try a couple of the most tempting options.

Good luck and if you have any follow-up questions, just let us know.

 

Much Love,

Anna & Marta