Sometimes seen as a skill, sometimes seen as a challenge, adaptation is always a factor in intercultural families. Adapting to your partner’s culture, adapting to Finland as a new country, adapting to the Finnish job market… But also adapting to the new you that emerges in this new context. Adapting to frustration, sadness, excitement, uncertainty. In Partner’s Path and Familia, we do not consider that adaptation is a necessary step to take to be able to go forward. Adaptation is a process and takes time. Adaptation doesn’t mean that you have transformed into something different from who you are. Adaptation means that you are at peace with who you are, in your new environment. You learn how to navigate new spaces, cultures and representations and can work towards your best interest. Adaptability is your ability to changing conditions and be flexible.
One of the most significant things that we have been discussing extensively with our participants, is the fact that adapting is not a straight line. You might adapt to some things faster than others; you might feel that you’ve adapted and realize at some point that you didn’t. You might also have an easier time to adapt to certain aspects (cultural differences at home) and less to other (the Finnish work culture for example). The key work that we have been doing with our participants regarding adaptation, has been in two steps: why do you want to adapt and how can we support you to do so. The most important part is the ability to do some self-reflection work and look inside yourself: which parts of my values, beliefs, culture, behaviors, expectations are interacting everyday with my environment?
In your intercultural family, communicating about changes and what is new for you is a very important step to take. What may seem obvious to you might not be for your partner, and verbalizing your questions or simple comments might help tremendously your partner in understanding how to support you.
How to adapt better?