It’s been said that the more time you spend at a certain place, the more you become “from” that place. You get so ingrained in the culture and familiar with habits and hospitality of the people that, eventually, you become a local.
That’s basically the process of cultural assimilation or acculturation.
It’s not a mechanical, brainwashing process. You don’t step onto a one-way conveyor belt that will take you from a wondering immigrant to a native local. Not at all. It’s a daily process of moving two steps forward and sometimes five back.
It’s a tug of war between your past and your future. Unconsciously, you are dealing with giving up some of yourself while acquiring some new traits. Some people will fight it, defending their culture as best they can. Others will surrender quickly just to be accepted faster or feel like they belong.
Nobody is right. It’s a personal thing. Even within families, there are different stages of the process. Grandma is probably holding down the fort to defend their home culture, while first generation kids are trying hard to move faster and getting further away on that conveyor belt.
What we do know is that we are all moving deeper and accepting the new culture coming into us. And what’s even more beautiful, locals are starting to take on our culture.
What you end up with is a crossing of cultures. Yes, you might be giving up the most, but the locals are also accepting new cultural concepts into their own lives.
Don’t see it as a cultural brainwashing process. See it as an enriching process. You’re not giving yourself away. Instead, you’re becoming a good citizen of two places. You’re blending and adding a hint of your cultural flavors to your new community.
That’s acculturating – adopting a new culture while proudly maintaining the most important aspects of your native culture.
Don’t fight the process. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Let it help you feel welcome.
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