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Adapting to a Foreign Country

Below are a few tips relating to adapting to a foreign country. We hope they will give you some insight and help to make the transition much smoother and comfortable for everyone concerned.

Over the years we have dealt with countless couples that have met and married via our service. By talking with those couples, and pulling from some personal experience, we have put together a few tips which we think are important in helping that someone special you love, adapt to what may be a very different environment:

· Realistic Expectations: Expectations are a part of any relationship, but especially so when one of the parties moves to another country to live with the other. It's very important that you're honest about who you are and what your life is like. We are all prone to exaggeration when dating, however, it's necessary that she has a realistic expectation of what life with you will be like. For example, if you live for the outdoors and love to hunt, fish, and spend as much time as possible outside, then be sure that you convey that to the women you are interested in right away. A great way to do that is to send photos, or bring photos with you, that show you doing the things you enjoy. This way she will have a very good idea of your lifestyle and there will be fewer surprises when she comes over. It's much easier to adapt to a totally new and unfamiliar surrounding when you have a clear picture in your mind as to what to expect. It may not always be exactly as she pictured it, but the farther away reality is to what she imagined, the more difficult the transition.

It is also important that you discuss with your Fiancée, before she comes over, exactly what it is she wants to do once she is here. If she is a Doctor, does she wish to continue her Medical career? Do you both want to start a family right away? Would she like to go to school to improve her English? These items should be discussed prior to her coming over so you both know what to expect when she arrives. Once she arrives you should do everything you can to help her achieve the goals you both discussed.

· Support: You may very well be the only person that she will know when she first comes over. That can be a bit intimidating. It's important that you show her as much support as possible, especially at the beginning, to make her feel as comfortable as possible. There are many ways of doing this but one of the most important is to spend as much time as you can with her, show her how much you care for her, and that you are there to help her feel at home in whatever ways you can. It's also helpful to introduce her to other women who have emigrated from the same country. For instance, if your bride is from Russia a good place to look for recent emigrants, and places where they meet, is a store specializing in Russian goods. Contact with friends and family back home is also very important. There are many affordable long distance plans on the market today so that an over-seas phone call no longer has to break the bank. The Internet also offers many opportunities for communication.

· Lifestyle Differences: When someone moves to a foreign country there is always an adaptation period. Things are not going to be the same as they were in their home country. For instance, in many cities in Russia and the Ukraine mass transit is the primary means of transportation, many people simply never learn to drive. In many American cities there is very little mass transit, and one is very dependent on the automobile. Thus, learning to drive may be a significant change. Simple things like shopping can be much different from country to country. In Russia there are very few large shopping centers, however there are many smaller stores selling only certain items. Thus, in many Russian cities you may visit 4 or 5 stores everyday just to do the household shopping. In America we tend to visit one large store about once a week to do all the shopping for the week. These are not huge differences but they can take some getting used to

· Be a Good Listener: One of the most important aspects of any relationship is communication. It is very important that we truly understand what the other is feeling. Inter-cultural marriages have the added dimension of language differences. Your Fiancée or wife may speak very good English or may still be learning the language, you may be learning her language as well. Even if your wife speaks your language fluently, or vice-versa, there is still the possibility of honest misunderstandings. Words that we have used all of our life may mean something different to someone who is not as familiar with the language. You also have to be very careful about using slang and sayings such as, "the ball is in your court". Many times people will pretend to understand just to be polite, but in reality, communication has not been achieved. Thus if you are discussing something very important be sure that you are both on the same page and understanding what each other is trying to say.

· Show her you love her: The most important thing you can do to make her feel welcome and ease the transition is to show her how much you love her. Bringing home flowers for no special reason, or cooking her a romantic dinner, will go a long ways towards smoothing over any little hurdles she may be trying to overcome in adapting to your country.

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