5. Unfortunately, this honeymoon phase often comes to an end fairly soon. The newcomer has to deal with transportation problems (buses that don't come on time), shopping problems (can't buy favorite foods) or communication problems (just what does "Chill out, dude." mean?). It may start to seem like people no longer care about your problems. They may help, but they don't seem to understand your concern over what they see as small problems. You might even start to think that the people in the host country don't like foreigners.


Some of the most challenging problems when you move into a new culture are things that you "took for granted" in your home country. To take something for granted means to assume something will always be in your life and always be easy to keep.

Unfortunately, in the new culture, simple things like talking and listening become constant challenges. Finding a washroom, talking on the phone and riding a bus are just a few of the things that can become much more difficult when you are in a new place.

I recently asked my students what they think are the five most difficult challenges they face in a new culture.

They said:

1. talking on the phone

2. registering for courses

3. speaking with strangers

4. adapting to the food

5. listening to the radio news