Adapt in a New Environment

Updated: Sep 2


It’s always fun and interesting to visit or study in places where we don’t know its cultures and habits. When two people from different families and places come together, they need to adjust to each other. Same as when students from two different cultures become a couple/friend when they face difficulties typical for cross-cultural relationships/friendships. For most friendships, overcoming cultural differences comes naturally. Whereas some overcoming and understanding cultural differences are difficult. In cross-cultural relationships, both partners have to "let go" some of their own cultures and adjust to another culture’s beliefs and habits in order to get close to each other. For instance, a newcomer in a region or environment always feels hard to adapt and accept a new culture. It will be worse if he/she is an introvert or a person who doesn’t like social interactions.

Human is an adaptable creature, but it takes time and effort to adapt (either sooner or later) that depends on how they interact in a new environment.

In Indonesia, there is more than 300 hundred ethnicity group, or to be exact 1,340 ethnicity groups according to the 2010 BPS (Central Bureau of Statistic) census across the regions. The cultural diversity, habits, and ethnicity in Indonesia make it to be the most diverse country in the world. We don’t need to go abroad to know how to deal with cultural diversity because we are able to experience it in our beloved country. Although sometimes it could be a threat to the peace in the region, it also could be a challenge for the college students that wander about the study.

How it would be or could be a threat can be seen from the government representative that dominated by the Javanese tribe, the biggest ethnic population in Indonesia.

When I came to Jakarta for the first time, it was just like another newcomer from the Eastern part of Indonesia. I felt uncomfortable and shocked when I found out that its totally different culture and habit with mine. At that time I didn’t know what to do and think for how long I needed to adapt to Jakarta. The worst idea was about how I would communicate properly with the people there.


Communication was the first thing that frightened me because when I started to communicate with the people. When they looked so confused and seemingly didn't understand what I was talking about, I would just decide to leave them. Until I realized that was a big mistake why I didn’t, at least, try to explain what I meant. On the next day, I tried to communicate again but I used the proper Indonesian language based on KBBI (The Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language of the Language Center) at this time. I also spoke very slow in pronouncing just to make sure there was no miscommunication anymore.

Then, they finally got what I meant and it was such as relieved! I felt wonderful for that because it was one of my greatest successes in adapting to a new environment.

Here are two things that I use to deal with a new culture or place for the newcomer:

Respect Differences

Living in diversity is one thing, but respecting the differences is another thing. Everyone is able to live in a new environment but to respect the differences you need to be more open-minded, loving, and caring since those are what we need as human beings, to love and to be loved.


Different People From Different Culture Have Different Ways of Communication

Every person has its own way of communicating. For example, if you talk with the elder people in the Eastern part of Indonesia, you need to keep your attitude for not use bad words, respect them, and cannot act as we freely want. Otherwise, the people in the urban area like Jakarta, they are more relaxing when it comes to communicate and act. This is why you need to understand so you become close and comfortable sooner.


Knowing people from many different places and cultures is such an amazing experience because you will get a set of cultural knowledge and networking. It will lead you to have fun and open-minded characters to live with various strangers that may come into your life. That is why we need to learn and know first the cultures and habits to go to a new place in order to respect it.


Written by: Rudi Kogoya, 20, Indonesia

Instagram: @kogoyaaa | Facebook: Rio Ashter Kogoya | Email: rudikogoya2000@gmail.com


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