Bonus: The integration formula

The integration formula: According to dictionary “integration is the action or process of successfully joining or mixing with a different group of people“. Considering the two keywords “action” and “process” and based on my experience I created this (pseudo-mathematical) formula:

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I will explain every single part of the formula starting from left:

For all math-haters, that big S on the left is called “integral” and in our case it stands for the “integration in a country”. You can also see, that above and below the integral you have a little 0 and infinity symbol. This means that integration is a process, that starts at a point zero and goes on forever. That means, that even after years of living somewhere, you are integrating day after day. The good news is, that with time everything will be automatic and subconscious!

The Y stays for yourself, and it defines your own personality, culture and past. I put it at the very beginning because it’s very important. Indeed, integrating in a country should not mean that you have to completely change yourself to fit in a new place. I also don’t think that this is even possible. So, everything related to yourself (your personality, your culture, your education, your experiences, etc.) will influence the way you are integrating. The art will be to use those characteristics of yourself and get a benefit from them.

In brackets you find a symbol called sigma (that looks a bit like an E) and in maths it’s used to describe the sum of multiple terms. In our case it’s the sum of pieces of information. So the i means “information”. Again, you have the zero and the infinity symbol on the sigma, meaning that also here we have a process that starts from zero and goes on forever, since there are infinite pieces of information about one country. Under “pieces of information” of a country we count: The language(s), the culture, facts, laws, norms, unwritten rules and everything else related to the country and the people.

The a3 tells you what to do with all those pieces of information, and stays for the verbs of “action”. The a is up to the third because it’s composed by the multiplication a1 x a2 x a3. The fist action a1 is “acquire”, that stays for the action of getting the pieces of information. You can get those pieces of information in several different ways, from social media by asking people or just by living in a country. Or of course, by reading Gerdaknows!

The second action a2 is “accept” the pieces of information. With “accept” it doesn’t mean that you generally have to like everything. What you should try to do is accepting the fact that in the new country things are different (and that doesn’t mean that it’s generally bad). In this sense, accepting has a lot to do with being flexible and open minded.

The third action a3 is “apply” the pieces of information, meaning that you should use the new theoretical information that you just got/accepted and put it into practice. In some cases “apply” just means that you have to do exactly what you just learned while sometimes the Y (yourself) will influence how you apply something.

I give you two examples on how to apply the formula. Let’s start with these two new facts about Switzerland: In Switzerland you’re legally not allowed to keep pets, such as bunnies and guinea pigs individually (always at least two). Also, in public transport people are extremely quiet, especially in the morning.

After you read these two facts (acquire) you need to accept them, even if perhaps you think that it doesn’t make very sense. Now, you have to apply the new facts: With the first example it’s quite easy since it’s a law. For the second example your Y=Yourself will influence how you are applying the new information since it’s a norm or unwritten rule. As an introvert, you will be happy to follow the rule at every time. As an extroverted person, perhaps you won’t be able to follow the rule at every time, so don’t worry, nothing will happen. In this case I would suggest you to avoid having a call, speak loudly or listen to loud music in public transport.

So until now it seems really obvious: To integrate successfully in a new country you have to acquire step by step pieces of information about the country and its people, accept those news and apply them using your own personality, culture and past as a filter. Unfortunately, the formula doesn’t end here.

At the very end of the formula I put a little +1. This is the extra mile that you have to go, just because of the fact that you are a foreigner. The extra mile can difference from country to country and from person to person, but in any case you have to be aware that you will have situations where you have to put extra effort to reach the level of natives.

Before you go back to the main post, I suggest to hold on a moment and think about the integration formula and how you can use this process in your own life. Meanwhile, I posted a picture of my bunnies, because thanks to the law, I learned how important it is for them to have a partner. 🙂

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Go back to step 1: Click here.

Gerdaknows is not a legal counselor and does not take any responsibilities about the correctness and completeness of the information. Gerdaknows does not tolerate racism, sexism, insults, mobbing, etc..

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