Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation that can occur when someone travels to a new country or unfamiliar society. It is quite normal when you are exposed to new and unfamiliar environment, and it can be experienced to varying degrees by anyone who travels abroad.
Here are a few common examples of culture shock that people may experience when studying abroad:
- Communication barriers: If you are studying abroad in a country where people speak a different language than your local language then, you may feel difficulties communicating with locals. Even if you are proficient in the local language, you may still face miscommunications and misunderstandings or due to cultural differences in communication styles.
- Different customs and traditions: You will be surprised by the differences in traditions and customs in your host country. For example, people may greet each other differently, have different customs around eating or greeting ,or have different social norms.
- Different living arrangements: If you are used to living in a certain pattern, you may be surprised by the different living arrangements in your host country. For example, you may be used to living in a house with a garden, but in your host country, you may be living in an apartment or dormitory.
- Homesickness: Being away from home and from your loved ones can be tough, and it’s common to feel homesick when you are studying or working abroad. This can be especially difficult if you are in a country where you don’t speak the language fluently or if you are having a difficult time adjusting to the local culture.
- Culture fatigue: Culture shock can be mentally and emotionally draining, and it is common to experience a sense of “culture fatigue” after being introduced to a new culture for an extended period of time. This can manifest as feelings of frustration, loneliness or even depression.
How to Avoid Culture Shock ?
Below are a few tips that may help you to avoid or mitigate culture shock while studying abroad:
- Research your host country before you go: Learning about the customs, culture, and way of life in your host country can help you to better prepare for what to expect. This can also help you to identify potential challenges and think about how you might cope with them.
- Learn the local language: If you are studying abroad in a country where people speak a different language, it can be helpful to learn at least some basic phrases before you go. This can make it easier to navigate your way around and to communicate with locals in your host country.
- Be open-minded and flexible: It’s natural to have expectations about what your study abroad experience will be like, but try to keep an open mind and be flexible. It’s likely that you may encounter unexpected challenges and situations, and being open-minded and adaptable can help you to better handle the situations.
- Stay in touch with home: It’s normal to feel homesick when you are away from home, and staying in touch with your loved ones can help to alleviate those feelings. Use WhatsApp, email, or social media to keep in touch with friends and family back home.
- Seek out support: If you are having a difficult time adjusting to your host country, it’s important to seek out support. Talk to your study counselor, or a trusted friend or family member about your feelings. You can also connect with other students who are studying abroad or join a local club or group to meet new people.
- Take care of yourself: Culture shock can be mentally and emotionally draining, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and take breaks when you require them. It’s also important to stay safe and follow the rules and laws of your host country.