The Journey of Social Integration
This blog is an attempt at trying to capture my journey and the experiences that follow in order to establish the necessity of social integration.
When you move to a new country that is, in its entire sense, different from your place of your origin, Social Integration is key. I cannot lay stress on how important it is for people from developing countries moving to developed countries to break the barrier about race, culture, colour, religion and every other social barrier to integrate with common folk.
But how easy is it? What role does one play in their own integration versus the common folk?
Lets get one thing straight – you can NEVER completely integrate into a new country. You will always carry some baggage from your place of origin. This baggage can be an accent, cultural practices, food habits, clothing choices, and many other biases or opinions that you may have. Yes most countries are a cocktail of different races and hence they are great because they respect and accept everyone from different backgrounds however you (like everyone else) will always remain an immigrant.
To integrate with the social norms you should first unlearn what you have learnt about a place to give you enough room to learn and understand. It is important to making local friends and ask if you are unsure of the practices and customs before making assumptions.
If you are a student, it is important to use this forum to learn about each others cultures and while you will meet a lot of students from multi-cultural backgrounds it is important to respect each of them while learning more about them. Go out more often and participate in social meets.
If you are a migrant moving for a job, it is important to start meeting people to integrate better. Attend professional Meetups and sessions, meet more local businesses and communicate more than a simple hello and a bye. Learn to have a conversation. Meeting recruiters and future job recruiters and having a social conversation can land you in a positive spot than just sticking to your professional conversation. Again here it is important that you ask if it is appropriate to wear and talk what you think you are going to. If you do not know its better to ask than to be misunderstood.
You should always respect the privacy of people. The level of privacy differs from place to place. Hence it is always appropriate to understand and observe how comfortable people are with you before you take a dive into personal lives (which you shouldn’t anyway). Asking about family members, home address, political or religious choices, or their weekend plans is a complete no-no.
No Free Advice
Don’t go around giving your opinions and advice when you’re not really asked. Its not about being rude or being mean, its just the way it is. If someone needs it they will ask you. Unless there is a imminent threat where you need to intervene and give them some advice, you should never go around telling people what they need to do with their careers, jobs, house, food, choices, etc. It is just known to intrude and get you all wrong. Again this will differ from the level of your relationship with the person.
Unnecessary Information Sharing
When meeting new people it is important that you learn you don’t unnecessarily share information that they are not interested in hearing about you – like what you had for dinner last night (unless its a good joke 😉 ), or what you are thinking about doing with your job or the neighbours dog. Rather be updated with latest events and talk about them, talk about different tastes and understand theirs.
We all need help now and again but being independent (mentally, physically and financially) is important. Its always okay to ask someone for assistance but you should understand asking too much isn’t good and giving back in any form or another is important.
Well these are from my experiences and I hope that most of you will be able to relate to these if you have migrated in some form or another. Please do feel free to comment below.