Culture

Moving countries often means changing your life style. I believe you can still be the same person while taking on the essence of your homeland; This does not mean you cannot get accustomed to the new culture, achieve new experiences and meet new friends. Just be open to change so you can start to be more worldly.

I was trying to order my ideas as I wrote this blog, because so many things have changed for me, but I wanted to share my thoughts with other people first and find out if they experienced something similar to me. So, I asked my colleagues: which customs have you changed during your life in Australia?

I could not believe the valuable information that I was hearing… Carolina started; she said that she has acquired the custom to be more punctual. “When I was living in my country I was not worried about being on time, but for Australian that is disrespectful.”

For Yury, going to bed late was one of the biggest changes in her habits. “Normally I am going to my bed around 12.00 p.m. or 1.00 a.m. after talking with my family and friends back home.”

Additional to this, Yury also commented about the dependence on her mobile phone and I totally agree with her. Actually, I am extremely dependent on my mobile phone and it has been a terrible habit that I acquired since I arrived to Australia. When I was living in Colombia I only needed my mobile for calls and as an alarm. Now, my phone is my best friend! Thanks to my smart phone I now keep closer to my friends and family back home. It is my best fashion counselor – I check the weather app to decide what I am going to wear for the day. I am forgetting the experience of having to go to the bank to pay my bills. My mobile phone is an extension of my right hand when I have to pay, transfer money, etc.

Other habit that I picked up while in Australia (I am not really proud about this) is mixing English and my native language – Spanish. I am not alone with this; people from all backgrounds do this!

Carolina also mentioned another change “although the idea is not to lose my femininity, it is not as important to me now if my shoes do not match my earrings! You start to be practical and pragmatic with your ways” I agree. You no longer show as much detail to trivial aspects. If you are happy with your appearance, it does not matter what people think about it.

Continuing with this topic, we agree that while living in a different country – where the habits are totally different and where you have to share space and time with people from diverse nationalities, it is impossible keep your traditional lifestyle. You have to change if you want to adapt to your environment and enjoy the experience.

I have always believed that leaving your comfort zone is the beginning of opening your horizons and seeing the world through different eyes. Living in a different country, so far from my family, friends and possessions, have made me more independent. It has allowed me trust and believe in myself more.

As part of self-development, I have always believed that I needed to cross the world to have a mental shift. This kind of experience is not only the chance to know more about the world and differences between cultures, it is also the moment when you have to share more time with yourself and discover sides of your personality that you previously didn’t know.

The prejudices vanish; the fears remain, sometimes they are very intense, but you get over them as this is the only option to thrive! You still have part of your country in you, but the time that you live outside is the chance to be a world citizen!

Angélica Benjumea
Angélica Benjumea is a Social Communicator and Journalist, specializing in Organizations, Social Responsibility and Development. During her professional experience she has worked in PR, Journalism and as a Communication and Social Responsibility Consultant. Angélica arrived to Australia in 2012, during this time she has studied English, Certificate of Business and Diploma of Management. "I have opened my eyes and my mind to a beautiful new Australian way of life and I love exploring the different cultures and it feels amazing to be here!" “A diverse and everchanging world captives me in the process of continuing to grow as a professional. In my years of experience as a journalist and consultant in social responsibility and communications I have not stopped learning as I continue to wonder about the endless amount of possibilities that I still don't know”.