Life around the world

Sunday, 29 September, 2013 - 10:55

The importance of time difference

by DanielT

One of the most important, yet frequently overlooked, elements of moving to a new country or city is the effect of time difference. There are a number of reasons why this is so, and each of these will be explored in more detail below:

1. Jet-lag
When flying to arrive in a new place, a flight can often lead to a change in time, especially when flying across continents. This can lead to a strange feeling when leaving the plane; for example, a 7 hour flight from the UK to Canada will only result in a two-hour change in time, leaving the feeling of tiredness despite the comparative lack of change in the time of day. Conversely, a 9 hour flight from Germany to China would create an overall difference of 15 hours, adding the effect of the 6 hour shift in time zone moving East.

2. Family and friends
While the body is still adjusting to the jet-lag, family and friends have not had to cope with this change and so are still used to the same routines in their day. Therefore, especially in the early days and weeks, it is important to keep in touch with people back home and make sure that a mutually convenient time to talk can be agreed upon.

3. Listen to your body
It is perfectly normal and natural that the body may take a little to become accustomed to this change, especially as there may also be an accompanying change in climate. Listening to the body, ensuring lots of rest and trying to find food and drink that is at least a little familiar, is important to help the transition be as smooth as possible.

4. Integrate in the local community
Once this settling-in phase has taken place, it is important to try and get involved in local activities and projects that enable a feeling of belonging in the local area. Even signing up to a local gym or engaging in a local event should help in this respect. This will also help the bedding-in period feel smoother and help avoid those feeling of homesickness which may arrive after the honeymoon period.

By following these 4 steps, it is possible to combat the worst effects of the time-difference and help make the experience of living and working abroad even more fulfilling.

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Have you ever travelled to a country that has a different time zone? 

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