How long would you need to live in Africa to find termites delectable?
And, while adapting does demonstrate respect of your new culture, true cultural integration involves adopting.
Adopting vs. Adapting
Let’s take a look at our Monkey Strategies:
Adapting means to adjust your behavior in order to fit into a foreign society. It means following cultural norms, if only for the time you’ll be living and working in a culture, to demonstrate your respect and dedication to cultural understanding and sensitivity.
But adopting takes integration a step further. Adopting means to actively accept a certain behavior, norm or value as your own.
Truly adopting another culture’s values means you are taking them into yourself. They are rooting within you and becoming part of you.
This may mean you’ve shed some of the cultural values that were taught to you from birth. This may be a conscious choice, and it may change the very core of who you are.
When it does, you’ve entered the final stage of cultural integration.
Adopting Another Culture
When you become part of this new culture, the culture becomes part of you.
But this isn’t likely to happen in the blink of an eye. Like an actual adoption, the process takes time. And as I mentioned, it is a choice to adopt; you can’t be forced to do so. Nor is adoption necessary to be successful in a foreign culture.
Reaching this stage makes you global citizen. You’ll feel a deep connection to this new culture into which you’ve integrated, and you’ll also obtain freedom from and valuable insight into your own culture.