How to Overcome Culture Shock When Studying Abroad?
Culture shock is a natural reaction of disorientation a person may feel when moving to or visiting a cultural environment that is quite dissimilar than their own. Modifying your daily routine while in a foreign country can be challenging, however, in one way or another you will have some guidance to overcoming culture shock when studying abroad. Discovering such an unaccustomed lifestyle coincides with experiencing certain stages of culture shock.
Stages of Culture Shock
The initial stage creates a sense of vast love for your destination, gawking at all of the distinguished attractions, and shutting out everything else. For most abroad travelers, this phase is not sustained for a lengthy period of time, if experienced at all.
Some individuals proceed immediately to the subsequent stage of hostility and irritation – this could occur as soon as you set foot in the proximity to the area. It almost sounds disrespectful having such feelings toward a place that’s done no harm to you, but know it is entirely normal.
You most likely have jet lag and general irritation of traveling, which doesn’t help, but you simply have to adjust – that will come with time.
That becomes the next stage – your own personal progressive adjustment. This portion of global travel is subjective. On your own, you recognize elements of your personal culture shock and, depending on the type of person you are, eventually overcome them. Lastly, in this enterprise, it is the means of the stage of adaptation.
Not everyone will meet the full acceptance stage, but it all is contingent on the person or place in position. If you do prevail, you will usually feel this surge of comfort come over you and will recover your sense of belonging in this new culture. While it may not be the enormous excitement as felt in the first stage, you will be satisfyingly comfortable to carry on.
The first effective tip to conquer the complex elements of culture shock is to realize it will take time to adjust, no matter the circumstance. You’re in a completely foreign and new area of the world and it will get to you in some way or another. It’s important to be patient with yourself. Like many instances in life, it’s a great idea to set goals for yourself while you’re adjusting. Beforehand, one helpful tool is to practice the native language; learn simple greetings and exchanges such as “if they speak English” or “where the restroom facilities are.” Do continuous research while on the trip, immerse yourself in the local flare of the culture, and have an open mind – this means not to frolic in the touristy effects.
Another aspect that may be difficult – but attainable – is to focus on the positives. Don’t revel in the components that you think are missing. Trying to identify with things back home will only emphasize homesickness. Constantly remind yourself of the wonders you are lucky to be remotely close to discovering. Upon discovering these wonders, it will also do you good to recognize and understand your academic intentions. If you’re not solo on this study abroad trip, converse with your peers or instructors concerning these expectations. It will surely settle you back down and tend to the avenue you choose to assess your classes in. Recapping homesickness – it just comes down to acceptance. Find ways to intertwine your love for your home culture while exploring the new culture with people you have met. Embracing this new opportunity does not mean you are leaving behind where and what you have left.
Challenging yourself is an active way of reducing an obstacle. Don’t be afraid to do some activities that make you a little nervous. Definitely don’t overwhelm yourself, but again, attempt small conversation with a local or taste new foods. It’s fine to start small. You start somewhere and when you eventually reach the outside cusp of your comfort zone, you begin growing. Although, as humans, it’s easy at the starting point of comfort to compare oneself to others, you must divert from that mindset. A powerful thing that will go a long way is an open mind. That is the first and last thing you should always be earnestly searching for throughout your expedition studying Globally Abroad. Remain bare of bias and intolerance. Seize all things from various objectives. Overcome!
GBA transforms the lives of minority youth into global citizens, by way of international travel.
By offering global opportunities ranging from language courses, community service projects, to internships, we encourage and provide international travel programs for minority youth for a chance to encounter diverse communities. Globally Abroad aims to help our participants build their own understanding of world events and culture as they encourage their own communities to do the same. We full-heartedly stand by our mission, which is why we intend to inspire action, break barriers of discrimination, and operate in excellence.