After moving internationally, many expats need to adapt to new cultures. When leaving the states, you should prepare for the culture abroad so you know what to expect. Sometimes Americans will move abroad and experience a shock that their cultures are very different. For this reason, we compiled some of the best ways to mitigate troubles in the transition.
Read our guide below on how to adapt to new cultures and beat the culture shock abroad.
The Best Ways to Adapt to New Cultures Overseas
Here are some of the best ways we’ve found to adapt to new cultures and prepare for life overseas. As a disclaimer. there are definitely other ways and not all of these may be relevant for your specific destination. Some of these may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people are not ready to make the changes needed.
Enter the Country with an Open Mind
The first place to start with adapting to a new culture is to go with an open mind. If you close yourself off to the culture, you will feel as if everything is out of place. Be ready to embrace the differences in lifestyle and fully enjoy the chance to experience the way other people live. Doing this will allow you to adapt more easily and you will have a generally better time adapting overseas with that mindset.
Get Familiar with the Culture Overseas
Being thoroughly knowledgeable about the culture overseas will help you adapt to the new culture when arriving. An example of this is being ready to kiss someone on the cheek as a greeting. Where that is not the norm in the USA, many countries use this a casual greeting. Avoiding this may be interpreted as rude and increase the dissonance between you and the culture. Knowing the cultural nuances beforehand will be beneficial and is worth doing.
Learning the Local Language
One of the best ways to avoid a culture clash is to learn the local language. The local populace may not speak English which creates a language barrier between you and them. When you know the language, it is much easier to understand the new people around you. Even if you are in an English speaking country, the slang and terminology is different. For example, in the England saying “cheers” could mean thank you or goodbye. Adopting this slang will also be useful when getting to know people abroad which also helps you connect faster.
Ask About Things You Don’t Know
Many times we see people choose to stay quiet when they don’t understand parts of a culture. It’s going to be very difficult to fully adapt to a new culture if you don’t learn the reasons the locals are doing something. Asking questions will clear up any misunderstandings and the people there would appreciate the honesty.
Find a Safety Net of Expats
This may sound like advice opposite to earlier, but having a fallback of people from the same culture alliviates culture shock. Sometimes the culture overseas makes you homesick and increase the culture shock you experience. By having expats you know nearby, you can always experience a little bit of home while you are there.
Ready to Go Overseas?
Now that you have some tips on how to adapt to new cultures overseas, start your international move with Schumacher Cargo Logistics.
With over 40 years of international moving experience, our services will take your goods overseas with no hassle at all.
If you’re ready to move, fill out our Online Quote Form and we’ll begin your shipment today.
Many Americans will notice various pros and cons living in the UK compared to the USA. As an American living in the UK, you will find that there are differences from life in the states. Through our many moves, we’ve heard back from expats on things they would have liked to know before beginning their UK life. To help with acclimating to life in the UK, we’ve compiled some of the major differences for expats living overseas.
Check out our article on the pros and cons for differences living in the United Kingdom vs the USA below!
Living in the UK: Pros and Cons Disclaimer
To start off, it is important to understand there are differences in life throughout the UK. Areas are different even within the same country. Living in England will be different than Scotland, Ireland, Wales, etc. For this reason, the differences for the UK vs USA are broad and may not apply to all areas.
Housing in the UK vs USA
Housing in the UK is different in many ways to the housing you may be used to in the states. One of the most notable differences is the size of the houses in the UK. They are significantly smaller than US houses on average. Beyond size, there are also differences in amenities and appliances. Another housing difference noticeable right away is the outlets use a different plug style. Also many bathrooms do not have plugs and if they do they need to be away from the shower/tub. Almost no houses in the UK have air conditioning, while in the US air conditioning is almost standard. Since the UK is pretty interconnected, public transport is usually abundant. This means you can get to where you are going more easily without having to drive. There is also a lot of things do in most urban cities.
Housing in the UK Pros
- Public transport is generally accessible to housing in the UK
- Many large cities offer great amenities nearby
Housing in the UK Cons
- The housing is generally smaller and less roomy
- Different setups from homes in the US
Food in the UK vs USA
There is a wild difference in many aspects of food in the UK vs the US. Within the administrative level, many food items allowed in the US are actually banned in the UK. One item to show that difference is eggs. In the UK, hens vaccinations are mandatory which makes the eggs safer from salmonella. In the US, this is not the case and is the reason why American eggs need to be refrigerated. There are also interesting cultural difference such as people in the UK use a fork and knife for most meals. Eating a rack of ribs with your hands looks normal in the US, while this could be gross in the UK.
Food in the UK Pros
- Generally safer due to more strict regulation
- Local UK foods that can only be found there
Food in the UK Cons
- Costs on regulated items may be more expensive
- Some food may seem odd coming from America such as haggis
Drinks in the UK vs USA
Many Americans have different drinking habits compared to the UK. A majority of Americans drink soda, while British people drink tea. There is always a surprise for people from the US when their drink arrives with no/less ice. People in the UK believe that ice waters down a drink and is preferable without ice. Sizes are also one size down in the UK. A large there would be a medium in the US.
Drinks in the UK Pros
- Tea is a healthier option compared to soda
Drinks in the UK Cons
- Changes in drinks from soda or coffee to tea may be difficult
Work Culture in the UK vs USA
When Americans go to the UK for work, they are always surprised by the difference in work culture. Employees in the UK generally prioritize work life balance, and companies usually provide 20-30 days of paid time off. The US on the other hand has no minimum vacation days and having 10 is considered very good. Conversely, salaries in the US are higher on average and allows more wealth flexibility comparatively. Within work, British people have different customs and practices as well. There will generally be a lot of tea, small talk, and pub going after work.
Work Culture in the UK Pros
- More vacation days
- Better work life balance
Work Culture in the UK Cons
- Lower salary for similar jobs
- Need to adjust in new environment for American expats
Want to Live in the UK?
If you are moving or thinking about moving to the UK, we at Schumacher Cargo Logistics can help you out. With over 40 years of experience, SCL is the premier moving company to the UK. From cars to full households, we can ship your goods door to door from the US to anywhere in the country.
There are more pros and cons to living in the UK, but we’ll let you experience the rest while you’re there.
To get your move started, fill out our Online Quote Form or read another of our UK guides below.
Additional UK Guides
Author: Jing Zhu (CEO of Jingsourcing)
When it comes to Chinese cities, most westerners will rank Shanghai and Beijing as their favorite choices to work and live in China. However, those two cities are not the best choice for foreigners who are planning on importing from China. In view of this, I’d like to introduce the other four Chinese cities that are best suitable for doing import & export business in China.
Why Do Business People Choose to Live in Guangzhou?
Guangzhou is the most important international trading city thus far. It owns the largest number of industrial categories among cities in South China. It also has a comprehensive and complete industrial system along with neighboring cities of Foshan, Dongguan, Shenzhen, etc.
You can easily find concentrated markets of Clothing, Kitchenware, Lighting, Toys, Shoes, Leather, Watches, Furniture, etc. in Guangzhou, Dongguan and many LED, ceramic factories in the nearby city of Foshan.
Every year, over 100 trade shows are held in Guangzhou across various industries. Among them, the twice-yearly China Import & Export Fair, also knowns as Canton Fair, is the largest scale trade fair since its launch in 1957. It is held every April and October, featuring the largest buyer attendance, the broadest distribution of buyers’ source country and greatest business turnover.
The vast transportation network also makes it easy for people to commute between Guangzhou and other cities in the world. Baiyun International Airport is one of the busiest airports in China. A 4-hour flight can get you to any city in East Asia, South Asia and North Asia. A 12-hour flight can get you to all major cities around the world.
Guangzhou is also full of delicacies and the most famous is the Cantonese cuisine (Yue Cai). You can find many western restaurants here such as Spanish, French, Italian, Malaysian, etc.
How to find suppliers and manage the supply chain in Guangzhou?
Guangzhou has over 1000 wholesale markets. These markets cover around 40 types of commodity categories, such as Clothing, Furniture, Leather Goods, Shoes, Watches, Toys, etc.
For clothing wholesale market, the most popular ones are Baima Clothing wholesale market, Shahe Clothes wholesale market, Zhan Xilu Garment Wholesale Market, Children & Kids Products Wholesale Market, Xintang International Jeans City, Jinxiang Underwear Wholesale Market, etc.
Top leather markets include Shiling international leather city, Baiyun World Leather Trading Centre, Yi Sen Leather market. You can find lots of toys and gifts in Yide Lu International Toys and Gifts Markets, Liwan Toy wholesale market, etc.
For shoe wholesale market, Global International Shoe Trade Centre (also known as Bu Yun Tian Di Shoes World), Euro Commercial Plaza Shoes City, Jinma Shoe City, and New Continent Footwear Plaza are top places to go to find all kinds of shoe suppliers.
Remember that the sellers in the wholesale markets only speak minimal English and require payment in RMB. Before you go, you’d better hire a translator to go with you. A part-time translator will usually cost $50 a day; a full-time assistant with English speaking skills usually cost $600-$1,000 a month based on their working experience.
The wholesalers in the market prefer to sell in large quantities with cheaper prices. If you’ve got many categories to purchase but with small quantity of each, the easiest way is still to make the purchase directly in the market and pay either via cash, wechat or bank transfer.
If you specialize in 2-3 categories and have big orders to place, and think the wholesale prices are still not good enough, you’d better search suppliers online via Alibaba, global sources, etc. Then start making factory visits to establish relations with them. If you want more value added professional service or leverage the know-how of a third party, a sourcing agent can help you handle everything from supplier sourcing, sampling, production follow-up and shipment.
Why Do Business People Choose to Live in Yiwu?
Yiwu is also a world-renowned trading city, having the world’s largest wholesale commodity market – Yiwu International Trade Market. This is also known as the also called as Yiwu Wholesale Market by foreigners.
It has five districts that are well organized according to different product categories in each district. Here you can easily find a wide variety of products such as toys, suitcases & bags, jewelry & accessories, clothing, hardware tools, home appliances, etc.
What makes Yiwu International Trade market different from other wholesale markets in Guangzhou? Firstly, the international trade market is a one-stop choice for over millions of types of products. You can find any product you can think of and visit district 1 to district 5 without leaving the building. There are also free market buses to take you around.
While in Guangzhou, different wholesale markets are located in different areas of the city. This means you have a long distance to go from one area to another. Also unlike Canton Fair, the Yiwu wholesale market is open all year round, except for Chinese New Year. You also do not have to wait for a specific time to meet all of the suppliers.
It is also very convenient to travel to nearby cities either by bullet train or plane. The world’s largest sock production centre (Zhuji City), China Textile City (Shaoxing City) and China Hardware Town (Yongkang Town) are all located close to Yiwu. It just takes 15 mins to get to Zhuji by high-speed train, and within 1 hour’s reach for Shaoxing and Yongkang.
Yiwu International Airport has dozens of air routes to cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, and other major international cities.
The large Muslim community in Yiwu also helps people of the same religion connect with each other very easily. You can also find lots of Muslim restaurants to satisfy your taste.
How to find suppliers and manage the supply chain in Yiwu?
With over 50,000 booths in the market, it is not exaggerating at all for you to take weeks to shop around the whole market.
If you know exactly what you want, the easiest way to find suppliers is to visit the specific district in the International Trade Market. It can be very easy for you to compare suppliers of the same product, and get a good price there.
Like the wholesalers in Guangzhou, the suppliers in the market can just understand some basic English like how much, price, quantity, etc, and will show you the price with a calculator. If you have a Chinese friend or business partner, be sure to ask them to take you there. They can act as your translator to have a deeper conversation with the vendors. As said earlier, you can also hire a part-time or full-time translator to accompany you in the market.
The quantity of products you are purchasing always matters a lot for which price you get. If you are purchasing a small amount, it is better for you to purchase directly in the wholesale market. Just be prepared to pay a small premium on this purchase.
However, if you purchase in a large number, you can source manufacturers directly through China wholesale websites like Alibaba, Made-in-China, etc. Then you can send them your inquiry and negotiate for a better price. If it is difficult for you to source satisfied suppliers, you can also find a professional sourcing agent to help with all the sourcing, pricing, production follow up, inspection and delivery, etc.
The good thing is that most of the suppliers in the market are based in Yiwu or other nearby cities. It can be very convenient for you to pay them a visit to see if they are legit or not.
Why Do Business People Choose to Live in Shenzhen?
Shenzhen, is a rising and glittering metropolis in southern China; also known as the World’s Hardware Hub. It is reported that over 90% of the World’s electronic products come from Shenzhen. In this case, Shenzhen is China’s answer to Silicon Valley.
The Huaqiangbei Commercial Street has over 20 shopping malls and is most famous for its Electronics Markets. Big malls for electronic products and gadgets include Huaqiang Electronic World, SEG Electronic Market, Yuanwang Digital Mall, etc. You can find almost anything from mobile phones, laptops, tablets, to various electronic components such as circuits, microchips, LEDs, etc. With these components you can make your own smartphones or gadgets from scratch.
It is such a huge marketplace that you’d better prepare sufficient time to explore, ask, negotiate and discover the place. As there are so many vendors of one product category, you can always compare prices and quality by checking with different vendors to get what you want.
Shenzhen is also a good place for cheap clothing, no matter if you want to purchase high-end or low-class clothing. Century Plaza and Haiyan Wholesale Clothing Market mainly deal in middle to high-end export clothing, while Taoyuan Clothing City offers a wide range of prices. Surely, you can visit the Guangzhou wholesale market for more choices.
The proximity to Hong Kong also gives Shenzhen a unique advantage. Transport between Shenzhen and Hong Kong is becoming easier after passing through customs at 11 border control areas. You can also easily attend Hong Kong Electronics Fair, Hong Kong Toy Festival, International Jewelry and Fashion Expo, etc to look for business opportunities.
With the rapid growth of Shenzhen’s Economy, it has become home to ambitious entrepreneurs who seek to take advantage of the city’s position at the heart of global tech supply chain. It is a young and vibrant city, attracting enormous amount of engineers and startups into the city.
How to find suppliers and manage the supply chain in Shenzhen?
It is said that you can make a smartphone from scratch by purchasing all the electronic parts at Huaqiangbei. However, different people gain differently after visiting the market. Some of them get lost because of the vast amount of choices available. Some of them even get cheated in the market without too much knowledge of the place.
Due to fierce competition, many vendors will move out of the market after their trial business within 6 months. Even if you exchanged contact information with the vendor at the market, it’ll be difficult for you to get in touch with them again if they are no longer there.
Most vendors at Huaqiangbei market are wholesalers; also the products in the market are not as well organized as in the Yiwu wholesale market. In such case, if you are purchasing in a large quantity, it is more advisable for you to hire a professional sourcing agent who’s familiar with the market situation and have solid relations with factories to help you with the orders. You just need to pay 3%-10% service fee of the product value to have the one-stop service from sourcing to delivery.
Why Do Business People Choose to Live in Ningbo?
Ningbo is also a manufacturing powerhouse in southeastern Zhejiang Province. One key difference between Ningbo and the above three cities is there is no wholesale market in the city. Instead, there are lots of small-medium sized factories and trading companies.
Capital of Plastic Machine is another nickname for Ningbo. Over 130 plastic machine producers are located in Ningbo, and about half of the world’s plastic machines are produced here.
Ningbo is also one of the major production bases in China for Home Electric Appliance, Stationery, Auto Parts, Mould, etc. It is home to over 3,000 electric appliance manufacturers and about 10,000 coordinative factories producing parts and accessories. There are over 3,000 mould manufacturers and around 800 stationery producers located in Ningbo.
The port of Ningbo-Zhou is an important cargo handling centre in Zhejiang. This is one of the busiest ports in the world in terms of cargo tonnage. All the containers in Eastern China are shipped from Ningbo Port or the neighboring Port of Shanghai to countries all over the world.
Ningbo is a very good city for living. It is not too big, nor too small, also not as crowded as big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, etc. The living environment is very pleasant, and the housing is not expensive either.
How to find suppliers and manage the supply chain in Ningbo?
There are no wholesale markets in Ningbo. The most common way to find suppliers is through online portals. You can easily source factories through online portals like Alibaba, made-in-china, global sources, etc.
If you’d rather focus more on your marketing efforts than searching and selecting multiple suppliers, it is better for you to switch to a professional sourcing agent or a trading company to liaison with factories, handle production follow-up, and arrange shipping, etc.
Ningbo will also hold various exhibitions, such as China International Stationery & Gifts Expo, China International Consumer Goods Fair, China International Machine Tool Expo, etc. If you have chance to visit Ningbo, you can speak to the suppliers directly face to face at the fairs.
International Movers to China
Schumacher Cargo Logistics is a premier international mover and can handle your move to China. With over 40 years of experience, Schumacher can complete your move overseas.
If you’re ready to move to China to find new business partners, fill out Schumacher’s Online Quote Form and start your international relocation today.
There are many pros and cons living in France compared to the USA. As an American living in France, you will find that there are differences from life in the states. Through our many moves, we’ve heard back from customers on things they would have liked to know before beginning their French expat life. To help with acclimating to life in France, we’ve compiled some of the major differences for expats living overseas.
Check out our article on the pros and cons of living in France below!
Living in France: Pros and Cons Disclaimer
To start off, it is important to understand there are differences throughout France. Just like anywhere else, areas are different even within the same country. Living in Paris will be different than Le Havre, Marseille, Bordeaux, etc. For this reason the differences for France vs USA are broad and may not apply everywhere.
Language in France vs USA
One of the most noticeable differences in France vs the US is the language. French is the primary language spoken in France. Even though many French natives can also speak English, they generally prefer to speak in French. Even if you proficient in French from a book, be ready for the speed and slang you may encounter there. Beyond the language there is also conversation customs that are different. Customs like kissing on the cheek or refraining from smiling are both things you will need to watch out for as an American.
Language in France Pros:
- A great opportunity to learn a new language
- Many areas where you can speak English such as expat communities
Language in France Cons:
- Speed and slang can confuse people even if they learned French
- New customs may be awkward for Americans
Cost of Living in France vs USA
Almost everything you buy in France is more expensive than the USA. There are a few cheaper things such as bread or wine, but even those are similar in price. Rent is the largest expense for most expats and natives alike, especially if you choose to live in a place like Paris. Americans living in France find eating and living prices take a majority of their extra pay. On the other hand, social services are free or close to free. This means there won’t be a need to pay for services like healthcare. It is also important to also remember that France has one of highest standards of living. With great work life balance, the increased cost of living in France may pay itself off in the lifestyle compared to the US.
Cost of Living Pros:
- One of the highest quality of life in the world
- Cheap or free social services
Cost of Living Cons:
- Goods are more expensive in general
- High taxes may make wages seem smaller
Service in France vs USA
There is a drastic difference in service between France and the USA. Most Americans will complain at least once they encountered bad service. Though it is important to realize that the service is acceptable for most Europeans and the US is the service outlier. In the USA, waiters generally rely on tips to make up their wages so they may provide better service. Whereas in France, wait staff are paid regular wages and it is irregular for them to receive tips. This leads to American servers being friendly and chatty, while French servers generally leave you alone.
Service in France Pros:
- You don’t have to tip for service in France
- Staff won’t bother you during a meal
Service in France Cons:
- Need to waive down staff when you need service
- Less friendly than service in the states
Want to Live in France?
If you are moving or thinking about moving to France, we at Schumacher Cargo Logistics can help you out. With over 40 years of experience, SCL is the premier moving company to France. From cars to full households, we can ship your goods door to door from the US to anywhere in the country. There are definitely more difference living in France, but we’ll let you experience the rest while you’re there.
To get started fill out our Online Quote Form or read another of our France guides below.
Additional France Guides
There are many pros and cons living in Germany compared to the USA. As an American living in Germany, you will find that there are differences from life in the states. Through our many moves, we’ve heard back from our customers on some of the things they would have liked to know before moving. To help with acclimating to German life, we’ve compiled the major distinctions from expats in Germany.
Check out our article on the pros and cons of living in Germany below!
Living in Germany: The Pros and Cons Disclaimer
To start off with the pros and cons, it is important to understand there are differences throughout Germany. Just like any other country, areas are different even though it’s the same country. Living in Berlin will be different than Hamburg, Munich, Bremen, etc. For this reason the differences in Germany vs US are broad and may not apply to everywhere.
Language in Germany
A very clear distinction from the US is that people in Germany speak German. Though you can get by with English in many areas, it is still best to learn German. You will find the native Germans will treat you much better when attempting to speak the language rather then make them speak English.
- Get by in many areas with just English
- Opportunity to practice new language
- Some areas only have German speakers
- German is one of the more difficult languages
Money in Germany
When living in Germany, the main way you will pay for goods is through physical Euro. Card transactions are somewhat complicated in the country. Now some purchases are mandatory to pay in card, while some places are impossible to pay with card. This means you should always carry Euro on you to make sure you’re prepared. Though there are abundant ATMs with fair exchange rates to use.
- Abundant ATMs so easy access to physical cash
- Euro is one of the most common currencies
- Not all places take card so you need to carry Euros
- Need to start banking there to avoid all the fees
Expat Communities in Germany
With the increasing amount of Americans living in Germany, many expat communities are growing here. Expat communities are great when you first start to live in the country because you have life from USA in common. To find these communities people generally use groups in Facebook or local meetup websites. Many groups have local events which makes it easy to meet in real life. Also all major military bases in Germany have large expat areas around them.
Expat Communities Pros:
- Finding expat communities helps ease into the country
- Easy to find with website connections
Expat Communities Cons:
- Relying too much on expats won’t offer a full experience
- Still need to go out of the way to meet expats
Food and Drink in Germany
For many, the food and drink in Germany is one of the main reasons to live here. Famous dishes like schnitzel and bratwurst are popular among locals and travelers alike. Fresh baked bread can be found in almost every town and you must try the classic pretzel from its origin. When talking about drinks, everyone knows Germany is famous for its beer. The drink is so popular, people choose to drink non-alcoholic beer when they can’t drink the regular version.
Food and Drink Pros:
- Regarded as some of the best food and drink in the world
- Germany has a diverse range of national dishes
Food and Drink Cons:
- Heavy focus on bread and meats
- Not as much diversity as the USA with global foods
Service in Germany
Americans should be ready for a drastic difference in service in Germany. Many Americans complain about the service since it is not as good, but it is important to look at the reason first. In America, the serving culture has tips and are very attentive. In Germany, servers are paid more wages and don’t expect tips. They aren’t as attentive, so you should be ready to waive them down if you want service. Also, the the language used can seem rude, but they are really just straightforward.
- No tipping so prices are what you see
- Servers will leave you alone unless you need them
- You need to waive servers down if you need anything
- Straightforward language can seem rude
Rules in Germany
Germans are more strict about rules and laws than Americans. Even small infractions such as jaywalking will get you in trouble, so you better be prepared to follow the rules. The rule keeping does help make towns peaceful and very few people go against these norms. Something else almost all Germans observe are closed shops at 6pm and on Sundays. This means you better be prepared with food and groceries or you may not have something to eat during these times.
- The peace is very well kept in the country
- There is structure with norms regarding culture and law
- Germans frown upon actions that you may do in the US such as crossing the street unprotected
- Very few things are open past six PM and Sundays
Want to Live in Germany?
If you are moving or thinking about moving to Germany, we at Schumacher Cargo Logistics can help you out. With over 40 years of experience, SCL is the premier moving company to Germany. From cars to full households, we can ship your goods door to door from the US to anywhere in the country. There are more pros and cons to living in Germany, but we’ll let you experience the rest while you’re there.
To get started fill out our Online Quote Form or read another of our German guides below.
Additional German Guides