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The pressures to be extra social abroad

By Raman Mama

When being abroad, one of the biggest challenges is that you’re expected to be much more social than you would typically be.

The challenge of this is that if you are someone who typically treasures quiet and isolation or exploring alone, you may find it difficult to maintain these conditions abroad.

When you’re abroad, people love to ask you questions about where you’re from and what it’s like over there, so that they might hear the stories of your culture and be entranced by things that they did not know existed.

This is tough for some people and may be overwhelming. If you’re someone who likes to be on the outskirts and not the center of attention, there will be constant external stimuli begging you to engage with the world. This can be a challenge for many. However, the benefit in this is that it teaches you important diplomatic skills such as reaching across cultural lines to get to know people, and teach them about your culture.

The piece of advice I can give is that people should look to establish a social circle where they feel comfortable and understood, and can interact at a comfortable pace. Having this type of group will allow you to feellike you’re meeting people at a more comfortable pace and not interacting with the culture so rapidly and with no guidelines.

This is especially important with countries where the culture is not specifically western or English speaking. I experienced this in China. If you can’t find a person or group of friends from that country, then meet people who are from your own country or a similar one that understand it well and are willing to be your second set of eyes in a sense.