Whenever you are going to meet someone from a different culture it is advisable you take sometime to dig and find out possible cultural differences you might have and plan the conversation accordingly. For example if you come from a non pet culture and you are meeting someone from a pet culture you should set a reminder to personalize the pets when they come with him/she ( it). Taking time to learn about the other culture and strategize will significantly reduce your culture shock and ultimately improve your relationships.
2. Avoid Quick Judgment
We all interpret everything using our cultural lens but unfortunately sometimes we get it wrong which is very normal. To avoid quick judgment you should always try and assume the best. For example if you come from West and someone from Africa tells you you are fat, though it might hurt you just assume that maybe fat is good in their culture. Since assuming helps for a short time and sometime might not be right, you should always ask to make you sure you understand what the other person means.
3. Find one thing about their culture and appreciate it
I believe it and it is true every culture has got beautiful things but you should be willing to find them out. Since we are all attached to our cultures everyone will appreciate a good and genuine word about their culture. Therefore, before you meet the person from a different culture try and find at least one thing that you genuinely believe is beautiful and share it during the conversation. This will break the strangeness and draw the person closer.
4. Do not try hard
Do not try to loose all of you to adapt to the new culture because people will easily see that you are not the real you. Always remember your core values and maintain them because they make you who you are. However, you should also know your flexible area that you can easily change to adapt to the new culture and relate with people in the culture.
5. Be curious
We all want to hang around with people who are more like us. But unfortunately we do not learn a lot from people whom we share a lot of things. Curious people are willing to leave their comfort zones and dive into new culture and learn and share the differences. If you are new in a culture, I recommend you reduce the time you spend in the expat community and schedule meetings with local people, this will not only increase your cultural knowledge but also will significantly increase your community trust.