Studying abroad can be a great experience. From gaining an excellent education to exploring a new country, getting new work opportunities, and creating a better future for themselves, millions of students choose to pursue university education abroad. However, living in another country isn’t always easy. One of the many challenges students face is culture shock when studying abroad. Adjusting to a brand-new culture and getting used to a new way of doing things is a part of studying abroad. The good news is that overcoming culture shock isn’t impossible. In this article, we have discussed culture shock when studying abroad and how to deal with it.
Don’t have much time to read? Please watch this short video instead-
What Is Culture Shock When Studying Abroad?
When international students arrive in a new country, they’ll be exposed to a culture very different from their own and may experience culture shock. Culture shock refers to feeling confused, disoriented, and homesick upon being confronted with and adapting to new things. It can also lead to physical symptoms like headaches and nausea and psychological symptoms like sadness and frustration. Since studying abroad is a big life change and quite daunting, dealing with culture shock is not uncommon for international students. There may be a significant difference in how people in your home country dress, act, interact, and even teach. Thus, culture shock when studying abroad is a normal experience. Adjusting to your new life will take time.
How to Prevent Culture Shock When Studying Abroad
If you’ve travelled to study abroad, you’re likely excited about being in a new environment and exploring a new way of life. However, you may still deal with culture shock. Fortunately, overcoming culture shock is possible, and there are many ways you can deal with this phenomenon. Read the following information on how to prevent culture shock when studying abroad.
Research Local Customs and Traditions
One of the best ways to deal with culture shock when studying abroad is to research the local culture beforehand. For example, if you’re attending a UK university, reading about the local culture before landing can be helpful. This will help you understand how to interact with locals and fit in. It’s also useful for overcoming culture shock since you’ll be prepared to deal with the differences between the two cultures.
Travel and Explore Your New Surroundings
When you’re facing culture shock at university, it’s easy to forget all the exciting things about studying abroad. Instead of focusing on homesickness and what you miss, focus on the positive and how much you have to look forward to. Culture shock when studying abroad is normal, but you don’t have to lose yourself in it. Embrace the adventure and explore your surroundings to know your host country better. Familiarising yourself with the transportation system, the traditions, and your surroundings will make you feel much more comfortable and can be a game-changer when you’re dealing with culture shock at university.
Make New Friends
Another common way to deal with culture shock when studying abroad is to try to make the most of your experience. You’ll have the opportunity to meet new people from all over the world. Make new friends and bond with others. You can find students from your country who empathise with you. At the same time, you can befriend those from other cultures and make it a point to learn about their culture and share your own. Join societies and clubs to overcome culture shock at university. This way, you’ll find others with similar interests and make lifelong friends.
Keep in Touch With Your Family and Friends Back Home
One of the factors that compound culture shock is homesickness. Your family and friends back home won’t be as accessible, which may be a big change to get used to. If you’re wondering how to prevent culture shock at university, one of the ways to do so is by keeping in touch with those you love. Whether it’s through WhatsApp, Skype, or Zoom, keep in touch with your family and friends and update them on your progress. Share your experiences and maintain your relationships to better deal with culture shock.
Dealing with culture shock when studying abroad isn’t just confusing and overwhelming. It can also be stressful. Find healthy ways to cope with this stress and engage in stress-relieving activities such as exercise or partake in a new hobby. Socialising and joining various student clubs can also help you relieve the stress of experiencing culture shock.
Surround Yourself With Familiar Items
Packing for university is a stressful experience. You don’t want to overpack, but you also want to ensure you won’t miss anything important. When it comes to how to prevent culture shock when studying abroad, mementoes and familiar items can go a long way in comforting you and reminding you of home.
Another way to surround yourself with familiar items is to cook your favourite foods and keep in touch with your roots when studying abroad. One of the best things about studying in the UK is how multicultural the country is. No matter where you’re from, you’re sure to find delicious food from all over the world. Many UK supermarkets also carry ingredients used in foreign cuisines, making it possible for you to cook dishes that remind you of home.
- 8 Tips to Make Transitioning to University Life Easier
- The Difference between Taught VS Research Masters
- Pros and Cons of Working While Studying in the UK
Studying abroad is a great experience and can offer many benefits. In addition to learning about a new country and culture, you get access to amazing educational opportunities and can work towards improving your future. While culture shock when studying abroad can be disconcerting, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Many others are going through the same experience, and overcoming culture shock is possible. We hope this guide on how to prevent culture shock is helpful and improves your overall studying abroad experience!
How does moving to a new country make you feel?
Culture shock is the process of getting used to a new culture and environment once you relocate to live in a foreign country. It can occur when you meet people from different cultures than the ones you are used to. Culture shock can cause a range of feelings, such as anxiety, loss of confidence, excitement, confusion, loneliness, and not knowing what to do.
How long does it take to get over reverse culture shock?
As a person gets used to a new culture and learns to deal with different situations, they slowly gain back their emotional and mental stability. Some people get over this in a few weeks, while others may need months.
How time does it take to become comfortable in a new country?
It takes about six to twelve months to get comfortable after moving to a new country. As time goes on, daily tasks become routine, and the traditions of the host country become just another way to live.
Can you get used to a new place?
You can get over culture shock in a lot of different ways. Some of them are staying up-to-date on what’s going on in the country, having a good attitude, making new friends, reading books about motivation, etc.