The number one most important element of cultural acclimation is language learning. I appreciate the value of language in the C&MA expectations which has helped a bunch. We spent the entire first year learning language and culture. We were immersed in a non-English speaking environment and were in church, running club, friendships etc. in French. But, acclimation is also a choice. There are many people who learn the language but refuse to be a part of the culture or really jump in. Our philosophy has been that of a learner and we just sort of jumped off the deep end and went for it. Our son is in French school, I run for a French club, we have many good friends etc. It took about 2 years to feel completely comfortable and at home but it has worked. This involves an all-out choice with media, newspapers etc. In Paris there is clearly the option to stay in an English speaking ghetto but we choose to in-culturate, otherwise, why even come?
Looking at Tim’s first response to the process of integration I was inspired by his approach. He didn’t go half way, he jumped in. Tim said: “We were immersed in a non-English speaking environment and were in church, running club, friendships etc. in French” (Meier, 2012). They didn’t try to slowly creep into the culture or language but immersed themselves right away. By his own admission it wasn’t easy and he shares: “It took about 2 years to feel completely comfortable and at home but it has worked” (Meier, 2012). Full immersion quickly in such a culture is tough but it pays off in the long run of things. I think I agree fully with this approach because not only does it assist in you and your family understanding a new culture but it shows the culture and people around you that you truly care about them as people and aren’t trying to bring your culture to them but are bringing yourself to their culture.