Recently I was watching an episode of one of my favorite shows, House Hunters International, and suddenly realized that when immigrants from other parts of the world move to the United States, we expect, and want, them to embrace our ways. However, when Americans (not all, but many) relocate to other countries, we think differently. But why should we not enforce the same expectations upon ourselves? After all, do we not owe a foreign country and culture the same respect we so prominently and ferociously believe should take place on our own soil? Allow me to clarify.

A couple relocates for either a job transfer or to give their children a cultural experience. Yet when looking at apartments and houses, the couple/family want American size rooms and American style floor plans. If you are there to experience a different culture, then embrace it.

If the realtor tells you that it’s not customary for an apartment to have a separate laundry room, rather it’s the norm in their quaint city to have a washer in the kitchen, then accept what he/she says. Do not argue and say that it’s a deal breaker. And it’s not the end of the world if  the bedroom is not big enough to fit king size furniture or if the yard is not big enough to fit an Olympic size swimming pool.

So many times I wish I could reach through the television screen and just smack some sense into these people. Some of you probably just said, “well that’s harsh.” And I know it is, but if I had the opportunity to live abroad in Italy, Brussels, or my personal dream, the Cotswolds in England, I would never have the audacity to expect that my way of life here in America could, or should, be expected there. It would be very shallow of me to think that a foreign country should roll out the red carpet and change their normalcy for me.

So to all who are thinking of living abroad to experience a different culture (myself included), please remember to EMBRACE and RESPECT the country and ways of that country, no matter how different it may be.

If you have lived abroad, feel free to post your comments of where and what was the most difficult adjustment. If not, where would you like to live if given the opportunity?

Love and Blessings!

Christine Maria Jahn