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Navigating Cultural Differences While Working Abroad - A Guide For Newly Arrived Pakistani Expats In The UK

17 Jul 2023

Adjusting to a new culture is a thrilling yet challenging part of the expatriate experience. Successfully adapting can lead to personal growth, expanded worldviews, and enhanced professional opportunities. Who wouldn't want that? If you're a Pakistani expat working in the UK to support your family with a regular money transfer to Pakistan, this guide is for you. When you travel, you will encounter new people, sights, sounds, tastes, and even cultures. You will also learn new languages and cultures. You might feel anxious because of all of this novelty and the unfamiliarity. 

Almost everyone who leaves their "comfort zone" will experience some level of this type of anxiety, which is known as cultural shock. Four stages can be experienced during culture shock. You will be better equipped to fight it once you are familiar with the stages.

Despite the benefits, cultural differences can also pose significant challenges. Misunderstandings and culture shock are common. Ever felt like you're stuck in a foreign language movie without subtitles? That's what culture shock feels like. But fear not; we've got you covered! Keep reading to learn the tips to adjust to the unique culture of the UK.

Tips to Navigate Cultural Differences in the UK as an Overseas Pakistani

Be Ready to Learn the New Culture

Research your new foreign environment and make an effort to learn about both its culture and the culture of the workplace there. In your native country's corporate culture, what is typically considered "normal" may be a complete no-no in another. Taking the workplace as an example, how do people interact there? What significance do you give to nonverbal communication? 

For instance, non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, eye contact, and common hand gestures play a significant and powerful role in everyday interactions with others and in business in high-context cultures. Your ability to adapt, particularly to your corporate work environment, will increase if you make sure you are aware of these differences.

Take Time To Observe

Being able to observe is a skill that can be used regularly when working abroad and trying to fit into a new culture. Spend time observing your workplace and how your coworkers communicate and interact with one another, especially in the first few weeks. What are you able to learn or retain from this? Ask yourself. How can you interact with or effectively respond to your colleagues?

An unfamiliar culture can be very intimidating when beginning a new job abroad. While juggling your work obligations, you are still adjusting to your surroundings. Don't be afraid to ask your manager or coworkers for suggestions and advice when you are struggling. Most likely, they will fully comprehend. In case you want to send money to Pakistan online to your loved ones, you don't have to waste your time in observance; you can easily count on ACE Money Transfer. 

Keep An Open Mind

Positivity and an open mind will help you get far in life. Let's face it—working overseas and living away from your loved ones can sometimes be challenging and lonely. However, you must remember that adjusting to a new culture and working environment takes time. It's perfectly acceptable if you don't always get it right.

Additionally, it's critical to realise that developing your ability to adapt does not entail altering your identity. It indicates that you are growing more receptive to other cultures and willing to learn their motivations for how they do things. Just because something is different from what you're used to doesn't necessarily mean it's bad.

Being honest makes the experience and process much simpler. Interacting with locals, picking up the language, and going to social or cultural events are all ways to demonstrate your genuine interest outside of work.

Immerse Yourself In The Rituals And Goods Of Your New Country

Try experimenting with their rituals and products before fully immersing yourself in the new culture once you arrive in a foreign country. You might pick up a few and spend a few hours reading to educate yourself on the customs and festivities of the area. Travel guides usually provide information on these topics. Even at home, you might experiment with a few of the recipes from your new culture.

You might also try to figure out how to access some of the local music hits that are currently dominating their charts or watch some of the popular films or television shows that are part of the local culture in your new country. When the time comes to move, you might feel more at ease if you are familiar with some of the cultural quirks before you actually arrive in the new country.

Don't Forget Your Own Culture

It can be simple to overlook your own cultural values and beliefs while preparing for your new culture. Taking part in and appreciating the cultural customs of your new country is crucial, but that doesn't mean you have to abandon your own beliefs and cultural practices entirely.

While residing abroad, try to strike a happy balance and maintain it. Just as crucial as getting ready for your new overseas job by learning about the inner workings of the foreign culture is successfully blending the cultures of your home country and the new one. Don't forget your family and your culture; stay connected with and keep supporting your family back home. The best way to do so is to send money to Pakistan from the UK, which not only helps your family but adds to the country’s economic growth. 

Effective Communication in the UK

British English: Accent and Slang

The English language varies across the UK. Accents, slang, and colloquialisms might seem daunting initially, but with time you'll get the hang of it. Think of it as learning a new recipe, complicated at first but deliciously rewarding in the end.

Non-verbal Communication in the UK

Like a well-choreographed dance, non-verbal cues play a crucial role in British communication. Understanding these subtle signals can greatly enhance your interactions and avoid potential miscommunications.

Maintaining Your Pakistani Identity Abroad

Pakistani Communities in the UK

Finding a local Pakistani community can be a great comfort. These communities act like mini-Pakistan, providing a sense of familiarity in a foreign land.

Balancing Your Cultural Identity

Navigating a new culture doesn't mean losing your own. Maintaining your Pakistani identity while adapting to UK norms is like mixing spices, creating a unique blend that enhances the overall flavour.

Coping Mechanisms and Support Structures

Overcoming Homesickness

Feeling homesick is natural. Developing coping strategies like keeping in touch with family or enjoying Pakistani cuisine can be very helpful.

Leveraging Support Networks

Local UK Organizations

Various organisations offer support services for expats. They're like lifeguards, ready to help when the waves get rough.

Online Communities

Online forums and social media platforms can also provide invaluable advice and connections. Consider these as your virtual map to navigate the landscape of cultural differences.

Working abroad can be a fantastic career opportunity as well as a fascinating way to experience other cultures. However, expats must be ready for the possibility of culture shock or simply the challenges that can occasionally come with living in a new place in order to have a successful overseas working experience. Therefore, adhere to a few guidelines to make sure that your new overseas job doesn't suffer as a result of your inability to adjust to a new culture.

Bottom Line 

It is hard to argue against the notion that cultural literacy is essential to any business's success. As businesses expand internationally, you work more frequently in person or virtually with coworkers and clients worldwide via e-mail, phone, or videoconference. You'll feel content knowing you can successfully coexist in two cultures once you've accepted. Learn these tips and move to the UK to earn money and support your family through an instant online money transfer to Pakistan


What are some key cultural differences between Pakistan and the UK that I should be aware of?

There are several cultural differences, but here are a few key ones. Firstly, the UK is more individualistic compared to the communal culture in Pakistan. Punctuality is highly valued in the UK, whereas Pakistani culture tends to be more flexible with time. Lastly, the British tend to be more reserved in expressing emotions in public, whereas Pakistanis might be more open.

How can I navigate through the cultural differences in the workplace?

It's crucial to be open-minded and willing to adapt. Respect the differences, and try to understand the rationale behind them. Be observant, ask questions respectfully, and seek feedback. Learning about British etiquette, business protocols, and workplace expectations can help ease the transition.

What can I do to mitigate the culture shock?

Familiarising yourself with the culture before you move can be very helpful. Reading about UK culture, watching local shows, or interacting with people from the UK online can be beneficial. Once you're there, try to immerse yourself in the culture, explore local sites, and make friends with locals.

How can I build effective relationships with my British colleagues?

Building relationships in the UK often starts with professionalism and respect for personal boundaries. Be punctual, reliable, and respectful. Participate in social events, but don't force personal conversations. Over time, as trust builds, deeper personal relationships can develop.

Are there any religious or cultural customs in the UK that I need to be aware of?

The UK is a multicultural society with a broad range of customs and traditions. However, major Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter are widely observed. The British also have unique customs like afternoon tea and pub culture. It's also important to respect the custom of queuing, which is a significant part of British social etiquette.

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