The idea of leaving the life behind you had lived for 19 years and moving to another country and start your life from scratch never attracted me. Looking back 3 years ago before leaving my home country, Pakistan and moving to Singapore my life was very different. When my father first disclosed the news that we will be moving to Singapore I remember how excited everyone in my family was, except for me. I was living a life that I always wanted and loved, surrounded by most loving grandparents and relatives, growing up with my best friends, and studying in Fashion School. The fact that I had to leave everything behind and start up new, moving to unknown city, unfamiliar to the culture, unknown traditions, making new friends, inter cultural communication barriers, how will I fit in new school scared me.
I always had this idea in my head that starting up new is impossible for me and I was not self-motivated for the change Moving from high-context culture to low-context culture is a big change. First thing I did after moving, I started comparing everything to how it is back home. Then I could not get in fashion school, which caused having low self-esteem in me. I was not very familiar to the culture as well, new places, new challenges and new people. All this led me to isolating myself and being pessimist about everything.
After my family successfully convinced me to take a Diploma in Business I got admission in one of the private institute, few early weeks I was the shy and quite student in the class, there were a lot of things going on in my head and because I was not self-motivated I never initiated to talk to people or make friends. After a while I became friends with these 2 girls in my class (both belonged from different culture). Both of them were very helpful and understanding. From there I started being open and interacting with people from different other countries and culture. Dwyer (2013a, p. 117), defined culture as “shared views of people belonging from to that society”.
Dwyer (2013b, p. 118)
I realized, just like me most the students in my class were immigrants too and pretty much have been through the same difficulties and experience. They all were unknown to my culture (Language, religion, social culture etc.) as I was unknown to theirs. All of them were away from their homeland and some of them were also living without their families. As time passed I started realising positive aspects of this experience. Growing up in a certain culture means you become customized to those beliefs, values and norms they appear very normal – everyday activities, behaviors, and you do not think about them as part of a culture. Singapore is a land of multi cultures, due to which I have made friends from different countries, with time I started soaking up culture references, trying different foods, learning different languages, known to different religions, celebrating different cultural and religious festivals, trying their clothes, sharing the customs and traditions.
I found myself eager to learn about it and not only me but my class mates where equally interested in my culture. After a while I realized I started adopting the habits I never thought I would embrace. I got to know myself better because there were things I used to believe in which was just the cultural heritage of the society I grew up in and not my own beliefs. Furthermore, as I had an art background, studying business for the first time was also a new experience for me and had some difficulties in the beginning but with the help of my teachers I managed to clear my concepts. When a person has lived a part of their life in another country especially their teenage, it is a challenge moving to different country and starting from the scratch but now after spending 3 years in Singapore I have realised how it was one of the best decision of my life.
What I wanted was to spend my whole life in a shell and never let myself think outside the box. I can say that I was the one making this process difficult for myself, it all depends on a person’s will. Since the day I got to know about moving I was being hard on myself and never let myself think positively about it. It certainly is difficult to start all over again when our lives already exists elsewhere but It depends on a person to overcome the change and make it comfortable. It is all a process of learning, expecting the unexpected and fighting through the challenges. . I never knew before that I could be flexible with the changes and see this as an opportunity one day.
Through this transformation of experience, I can conclude that after moving from my homeland to Singapore, I may have faced difficulties in adjusting with the culture and other challenges in the beginning but looking at positive side I have only learnt from it and came out of it as a better and mature person intellectually and more exposed toward the cultures. This experience helped me in learning so many new and different things, about myself, about other than my own culture which I never knew even existed, and that is one of the best parts about leaving your home country and moving to a foreign land. It has been a life-changing experience for me and I will never go back to how I was. And now I can say that I’m ready to face further challenges in my life.
Dwyer, J 2013a, Communication for business and the professions: Strategies and skills, 5th ed., Pearson Australia. – 2013b, Communication for business and the professions: Strategies and skills, 5th ed., Pearson Australia.