How To Deal With Culture Shock

Contents

8 Tips to Overcome Culture Shock

For international students, transitioning to life at a U.S. institution can be difficult due to a variety of factors including new cuisine and a different language. Don’t be concerned — culture shock, as it is termed, is very normal. It will take time and, perhaps, some professional assistance to become acclimated to your new surroundings. Follow these suggestions for coping with culture shock when studying abroad to ensure a successful experience.

1. Realize that adjusting takes time

It may be difficult for international students to acclimate to university life in the United States, due to factors such as strange cuisine and a different language. Though it may seem frightening at first, it is very normal to experience cultural shock. It will take time for you to become used to your new surroundings — and perhaps some professional assistance. When studying abroad, use these suggestions for coping with culture shock.

2. Focus on the positive

Depending on your perspective, it may be simple to concentrate on what is “missing,” such as favorite meals and traditions from back home. When it comes to dealing with culture shock when traveling overseas, comparisons will not assist you at all. Instead, pay attention to the positive aspects of your environment. Keep in mind that one of the main reasons you chose to study abroad was to discover and learn new things. Make a list of exciting or unusual discoveries that you’ve made and add to it over the year.

3. Understand your academic expectations

As you acclimate to life in a new nation, you’re also learning how to navigate a new educational system. This will take some time. Understanding what is expected of you will help you to feel less anxious about schoolwork. Discussions on what is expected at your university should be held with your instructors, adviser, and friends. This will calm your anxiety and assist you in approaching your lectures in the proper manner.

4. Accept that you will be homesick

All students, whether foreign and domestic, experience a time of homesickness at some point throughout their studies. Although it is necessary to maintain contact with family and friends, it is also crucial to enjoy your new surroundings and the possibilities to meet new people. Encourage yourself to strike up talks with others. Celebrating your home by talking about your culture is important, but you should also take the time to learn about their cultures as well.

5. Do not compare yourself to others

Keep in mind that when learning how to deal with culture shock, it’s important not to compare yourself to other people, especially those who are American or have spent a large amount of time in the United States. The adjustment process differs for every student, regardless of whether or not their home is closer to your campus.

While you don’t want to put yourself in a stressful situation, you should do activities that make you feel a bit uncomfortable, such as trying a new dish or practicing your conversational English with a native speaker. You can only progress if you venture outside of your comfort zone.

6. Get to know a variety of students

Bonding with other overseas students may be simple since they not only share your point of view, but they are also willing to make friends with American students. They can assist you with adjusting to American culture, answering your queries, and having a good time while you are traveling. Many American students are gregarious, but they may be hesitant to engage in conversation with an overseas student because they are worried, just like you, about meeting them. Take the initial step and engage in discussion with new folks you have never met before.

7. Find ways to relieve stress

It might be difficult to adjust to university life after experiencing culture shock. Working out might help you burn off anxious energy while you’re settling in to your new house. Relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation may be beneficial. Taking up new activities or joining a student group on campus, particularly those that involve mingling and meeting new people, might help you adjust to your new environment and overcome culture shock.

8. Keep an open mind

Consider things from a different point of view. If a fellow student or lecturer behaves in a way that is inconsistent with your expectations, investigate how their history and culture have influenced their actions. Embrace and comprehend their differences in the same way that you would like your American students to accept and understand your uniqueness.

How to Deal with Culture Shock While Abroad

  • When you travel to a nation where the norms and customs are different from your own, you may suffer culture shock, which can include feelings of bewilderment, irritation, and/or anger. Culture shock manifests itself in a variety of ways, but the end effect is generally an awareness of your new host country’s customs and traditions. Everyone’s experience of culture shock is unique – your previous experiences frequently influence how you see your new place. Before you travel, try to keep your expectations in check. Prepare for your trip by conducting preliminary research and engaging with the local community once you arrive. This will assist you in integrating

From the moment you step foot in your new nation, you’re preoccupied with absorbing everything that is new to you. You’re beaming at the fruit merchants who are hawking their wares on every street corner. You’re taken aback by the surprising generosity of others in your immediate vicinity. Alternatively, you could be detecting a subtle segregation of genders and ages, or you might be perplexed as to why your host mother is reluctant to answer certain of your queries. Culture shock is what you’re experiencing, courageous globetrotter.

Whatever your level of experience with travel or if this is your first time abroad, you’ll need to understand culture shock and how to deal with it while you’re abroad.

What is culture shock?

When you travel overseas, your daily routine, culture, food, and the attitudes of the people around you are all foreign to you. You must learn to adapt to your new surroundings. Culture shock is the term used to describe the process of identifying, comprehending, and adapting to these differences. In our typical context, much of our behavior, such as gestures, tone of voice, how we wait in lines (or don’t wait), and how we communicate, is influenced by cultural signals that are understood by everyone in the room.

When we go to a new nation, we become more conscious of these cultural nuances since they are distinct from our usual experience.

Food is strongly embedded in our society, and we have numerous connections with it, both positive and negative, that we can’t shake.

It’s possible that you aren’t physically shocked, but the act of feeling bewildered and attempting to comprehend new ways of living, attitudes, and cultural norms is what is known as culture shock. Culture shock manifests itself in four stages:

  • In the initial stages of moving to a new location, you’ll most likely be overwhelmed by all of the beautiful things that your new selected home has to offer. This is known as the “honeymoon stage.” When you are at this stage, you are more inclined to notice cultural parallels and to be enchanted by cultural differences
  • Irritation and antagonism / The negotiating stage- The exhilaration will gradually fade away as the negotiations progress. You’re going to get lost. You’ll be enraged by what appears to be “disorganization” in the situation. With all of the changes you’ll have to make, you’ll become overwhelmed, and you’ll either grow annoyed or feel driven to force things to go “your way.” Acquiring a knowledge gradually / The adjustment stage You may finally take a deep breath. You’ve come to terms with your new house and have attained a healthy level of emotional equilibrium in your life. Instead of being upset, you become more accepting of others’ differences. You’ll begin to have a more optimistic view on life, a greater interest in knowing more about your host nation, and a greater desire to integrate into society
  • Achieving a high degree of comfort in your new home is the ultimate stage of culture shock, which is also known as adaptation or biculturalism / The mastery stage. You grasp the logical progression of events, you can converse with complete strangers, and you are sensitive to cultural differences. Your daily routine appears to be more natural. Although your old friends and family are still very much missed, your new friends and activities have become a regular part of your daily routine.

Culture shock and depression

In rare situations, culture shock can be mistaken for or even cause study abroad depression in students. Unless you are certain that you are on the verge of or already in this state, do not attempt to get through it on your own. Speak with your study abroad directors or volunteer coordinators for further information. Don’t shut yourself off from the rest of the world.

Tips for dealing with culture shock

Now that you’ve learned what culture shock is and how to identify it, let’s get down to business with some practical techniques and pointers for dealing with culture shock.

1. Learn as much about your host country as possible

Consult online travel forums, guidebooks, news stories, or novels to learn more about your destination. Consult with persons who have visited the area or, better yet, who are native to the area. Learn as much as you can about what is considered nice and what is considered impolite in other cultures (for example, did you know that it is considered disrespectful to step over someone’s suitcase in Madagascar?) Before you go, make a mental note of some of the changes you may encounter.

2. Ask your program’s organizer for advice

When studying, volunteering, or working in another country, you’ll almost certainly have a point of contact. Don’t be afraid to question them about situations that others have had a difficult time adjusting to and what they have done to cope. Each nation has its own quirks, so you’ll find yourself in a completely different circumstance in France than you would in Thailand, for example. Inquire of those who are most knowledgeable!

3. Set learning goals for your trip abroad

Although it may seem simple, prepare a list of your objectives for your trip overseas, and make sure they include learning about the culture of your host country. Are you a foodie at heart? Make it a point to learn how to prepare a meal from the area.

4. Write down what you love when you first arrive, and look back later

Make a list of all the things you enjoy about your new host nation while you’re still on your honeymoon phase. In the future, if you find yourself becoming annoyed or irritated, you may use this list to remind yourself of all the positive aspects of your host nation, rather than the ones that bother you.

5. Find a healthy distraction

Find a healthy diversion, especially during stage two, when you may be experiencing unfavorable thoughts toward your host culture. Relax and enjoy some alone time. You may watch an episode of your favorite television show, prepare a dinner at home, or have a solitary dance party in your home. Traveling abroad may be a hardship, an exposure to a new culture, and an emotional roller coaster all at the same time at different points in one’s life. While it’s perfectly acceptable to feel overwhelmed and want a break from your host country, make sure it’s a good diversion and that you don’t spend your entire day shut up in your home!

6. Talk to others about how you feel

Find a healthy diversion, particularly during stage two, when you may be experiencing unfavorable thoughts toward your host culture. Relax and enjoy some alone time. You may watch an episode of your favorite television show, prepare a meal from scratch, or have a solitary dance party in your home. When you travel abroad, you face a variety of challenges, including the introduction to a new culture and an emotional roller coaster.

To be overwhelmed and need a vacation from your host nation is perfectly OK – just make sure it’s a good diversion and you don’t spend the entire time shut up in your home!

7. Try to let go of expectations

The assumption that the same rules and regulations that apply in your own country apply in your host nation is a typical blunder. This is the quickest and most convenient method to get irritated, dissatisfied, and bitter. Make an effort to approach the new circumstance as if it were a clean slate. This will assist you in reducing the number of expectations that will surely arise. When it comes to cuisine, you may discover that the food in a specific nation is not what you were expecting, which might cause some culture shock when traveling there.

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Just remember not to let this deter you from discovering a new favorite!

8. Try to see things through your host culture’s eyes

Taking for granted that your own nation’s rules and regulations apply in your host country is a typical blunder. Feeling irritated, disappointed, and spiteful is the most straightforward way to express yourself. Make an effort to approach the new scenario as if it were a whole new situation for you. This will assist you in reducing the amount of expectation that will surely sneak in throughout the course of the day. In terms of cuisine, you may discover that the food in a certain nation is not what you expected, which might result in a sense of cultural shock.

Take this as an opportunity to discover a new favorite, though.

9. Get involved with the local community

Part of your sentiments of culture shock may be caused by the fact that you feel like you are too much of an outsider, so try to become as engaged in your local community as you can. This involves making new acquaintances! If you used to attend to church at home, you should continue to go to church there. If you participated in a volunteer initiative at home, look for similar opportunities in your host city. Participate in sports, attend key festivals, and make your new place seem like home!

10. Make an effort to learn the local language

Make an attempt to acquire a few simple phrases (or more!) in the language of the country you are visiting. Aside than helping you learn more about the culture (language and culture are intertwined), it also allows you to meet new people. And, after all, it’s only for fun!

How will culture shock affect me?

In order to communicate effectively in the local language, make an effort to acquire a few fundamental phrases (or more!) Aside from helping you learn more about the culture (language and culture are intertwined), it may also help you meet new acquaintances in a foreign language. In addition, it’s simply entertaining!

  • If you’ve been to any of these nations before, please list them. Have you ever been to a different country or culture? The nation in which you are now traveling. What is the difference between it and your own culture
  • Your current trip’s objectives and structure are explained in detail. Do you have someone who can assist you in adjusting to the new culture? Are you eager to learn and adapt to new situations? How well you adapt to new settings is measured. What is your usual reaction when you are forced to step outside of your comfort zone?

For example, when I first visited Tanzania, I had a difficult time getting used to the idea of shopping in chaotic marketplaces and haggling over the price of items. When I buy at home, I’m accustomed to being left alone to browse, but most store owners are eager to make a sale when they visit a store. They follow consumers around and continually provide them with ideas for stuff to buy, according to the company. Then, rather than paying a fixed amount, the consumer and the merchant begin the time-consuming process of bargaining for a price that is mutually acceptable.

Culture shock is the term used to describe the process of identifying, comprehending, and adapting to these differences.

I still didn’t care for it, but my previous travel experiences helped me adjust to these new cultures because I’d been to comparable locations in the past.

Don’t let culture shock stop you from going abroad

Weekend excursions and late-night parties are not the only things to look forward to when living abroad. There are moments when the experience may be a hardship, an exposure to a new culture, and an emotional roller coaster all in the same day. However, the ups and downs are well worth it. We guarantee that after you return home, you will forget about all of the things that upset you and will cherish the memories and new friends that you have gained.

How to Deal with Culture Shock: A Guide for International Students

In the case of culture shock, it is commonly defined as feeling bewildered, perplexed, or nervous upon visiting a foreign country with customs that are different from your own. When international students encounter something novel or exceptional, such as the size of American automobiles or the first time they are offered a large plate of food in an American restaurant, they are likely to experience culture shock, which can last for several days. When I initially arrived in the United States, it was difficult for me to comprehend that Americans drank cold water all year long.

When dealing with culture shock when studying in the United States, it is vital to know that there are progressive transition tactics to attempt and resources available if you need assistance finding your way around.

What Is Culture Shock?

At first glance, the prospect of studying abroad in the United States appears to be a thrilling experience, particularly if you are still deciding where and what to study. However, many foreign students have a time of culture adjustment when they arrive on campus, which challenges them and drives them to grow as a result. That is not always a simple feat to do. “One of the most difficult aspects was forcing myself to sort things out on my own. Chau, a University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Globalstudent from Vietnam, explained that when she lived with her parents, she had the same set of issues.

“If I needed to travel anywhere, they’d take me there themselves.

“The most difficult realization for me was recognizing that I am capable of dealing with my difficulties and that I simply need to get over myself in order to assist myself,” says the author.

Another set of students has difficulty answering tough questions in English during class, or they are not accustomed to working in groups with loud classmates.

For many students, culture shock is a term that expresses the feelings of uneasiness they experience anytime they encounter anything new and unusual. The first step in dealing with cultural shock is becoming aware of how it makes you feel.

Here Are Some Common Symptoms of Culture Shock:

  • Always in need of assistance
  • Homesickness that doesn’t seem to be going away
  • Constantly preferring to be alone oneself
  • A sense of disorientation
  • Sleeping and eating issues
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Anger directed against Americans

When international students come in the United States for the first time, they may experience culture shock in a variety of settings. Jasmine, a 2016 alumnus of Florida International University (FIU) who hails from India, recalls that at initially, “there was an outpouring of inquiries.” “I couldn’t find my way.” Then she discovered her community through the FIU Career Accelerator Program, which also assisted her in achieving her professional objectives. Among the things she learned were how to improve her professional abilities, such as how to write a résumé and cover letter as well as how to give elevator speeches and create personal branding.

The more your understanding of your sentiments, the better equipped you will be to deal with the symptoms of culture shock when they occur.

What Are the Stages of Culture Shock?

Kalervo Oberg, a Canadian anthropologist, was the first to use the phrase “culture shock” when he described it in 1954. Here are the four steps of the process, as well as how each may affect foreign students:

  1. The honeymoon period is characterized by the fact that everything is still novel and thrilling. In contrast to domestic students, international students are ecstatic and pay little or no attention to their negative feelings. The crisis phase occurs when all of this newness becomes overpowering. International students have the impression that they will never be accepted. International students begin to feel better after meeting a few people, settling into classes, and establishing a routine
  2. This is known as the recovery period. During the adjustment period, international students learn to recognize and accept the cultural differences they are experiencing, and things begin to feel more normal.

Keep in mind that they are stages, and one may or may not lead to the next. For many overseas students, it may take a few crisis stages before they are able to transition into the adjustment phase of their studies. It is beneficial to evaluate where and when culture shock symptoms might manifest themselves, as well as the helpful tactics you can employ, in order to better understand why you are experiencing them.

Where Do International Students Feel Culture Shock in the US?

Students from other countries may experience culture shock at school or with their peers. It’s possible to sense it when having a meeting with a teacher’s assistant or conversing with a clerk at the grocery store.

Culture Shock in the Classroom

It can be more difficult to cope with culture shock in the classroom since there is the extra pressure of achieving excellent results on top of everything else. When your ability to perform academically is dependent on your ability to communicate effectively in English or your capacity to adjust to a new learning method, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. When I teach in my nation, I am used to having a class where the grade is set in stone and cannot be changed.” –Chau, from the University of Illinois in Chicago I initially felt it was impolite to challenge a professor’s grading, but I quickly understood that it is really a fair approach for students and instructors to be on the same page when it comes to scores, according to Chau.

Some examples of classroom scenarios that may cause culture shock for overseas students are as follows:

  • Speaking openly about your mark on a major test while other students believe you are talking personal information
  • Finding yourself feeling self-conscious about your abilities to speak in English, yet having a critical question to ask your professor during office hours
  • Making the transition from your own country’s lecture-based classes to a discussion-based class might be challenging.

Social Culture Shock

The occasional embarrassing mistake at a restaurant or convenience store does not bother many international students, but they begin to experience the symptoms of culture shock when they are forced to deal with uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations on a regular basis, as many do in the United States. “Americans are quite outspoken about everything,” Chau observed. “I had a difficult time adjusting because I am not often vocal about my feelings. I began coping with it by preparing questions that I may possibly ask before attending any type of organization meeting or seminar, which helped me to feel more in control.

Soon after, I was able to express my ideas in real time. and form my own opinions on a variety of problems.” Culture shock may be triggered by a variety of social events, including the following:

  • Getting about without a car
  • Navigating a massive American supermarket
  • Knowing when and how much to tip
  • These are all things that need to be learned.

According to Jessica from Auburn Global, “It’s difficult for me to get used to the fact that many banks and offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.” Inconvenient for me at times, and I don’t always have the time to deal with problems throughout the working day.” ” Getting used to American social traditions is only one aspect of adjusting to life in the United States. If you want to do an internship while studying in the United States, you should be aware that you may experience culture shock at your place of employment.

Professional Culture Shock

Because you are in the workplace, understanding behavioral signs and speaking good English at your internship or employment might have more ramifications than they would otherwise. Now you have to comprehend both the corporate culture and the nation culture, which may be extremely different from one another. In the following instances, overseas students may experience culture shock due to their work environment:

  • Knowing that the business clothing code differs from the one used at home
  • Communicating in English via email is a common occurrence. Collaborating with a diverse range of individuals

Your supervisor or the company’s human resources department can provide you with information on the company’s workplace culture and customs if you have any queries. They can act as mentors to you as you learn about what is suitable for your co-op or internship setting. Whatever the circumstance that is creating culture shock, there are a variety of ways that foreign students may employ to help them feel better and get over the experience.

How Can I Deal With Culture Shock?

First and foremost, remind yourself that experiencing culture shock is completely normal and expected. The majority of people who go somewhere new feel a little out of place, regardless of their age or the nation in which they name their homeland. If you are experiencing difficulty adjusting, here are some suggestions for transitioning to a different culture:

Stay Positive

Take a step back and think about why you came to the United States to study and all of the effort you put in to get here. The school paperwork, meeting all of your visa requirements, and planning your travel arrangements will take a significant amount of time and effort. You should be pleased with yourself for making it happen. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you made it through the application process and that you can do it again. Consider signing up for some non-academic activities that sound pleasant, or going to the gym to get some exercise if you’re feeling down.

A plus is that any activity that helps you feel more connected to your new home, such as joining a soccer club or visiting a museum, will be beneficial to you in the long term.

Remember, Culture Shock Passes

The majority of cases of American culture shock among overseas students subside after a few months of their arrival in the United States. It may not take long for you to become familiar with the dining hall, locate a nice spot for tea or coffee, and perhaps begin to form connections that will last a lifetime. You may first feel disoriented, but each new encounter is a gradual process of adjustment. Making a game out of your experience by setting daily or weekly goals will help you remember it better.

Try new meals, pick up new phrases, and explore the areas and attractions in and around your college or institution. Make a list and cross items off as you go. If you concentrate on what is in front of you, you will have less time to think about your emotions of homesickness or loneliness.

Be Social

Things will become more manageable. When studying abroad, many foreign students hunt for other students from their home countries, and this may be a useful tactic when you first arrive in a new country. However, don’t stop there. Answering your questions, assisting you through social situations in real time, and explaining things that may be unknown to you will be provided by your American friends. According to Chau, “I believe I will be able to handle living alone in a foreign country since I have surrounded myself with supportive people who I consider my second family.” It is these buddies that go grocery shopping with me, cook with me, pull all-nighters with me, laugh with me, and weep with me that I am talking about.

Tip: Even American students are apprehensive!

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Understand Your Academic Requirements and Know Where to Turn for Help

Scheduling a meeting with your professor will allow you to obtain answers to all of your concerns as well as discuss any difficulties or language obstacles that are causing you to feel self-conscious. Make certain that you grasp all that is being required of you in each subject so that there are no surprises when huge papers are due or when final examinations are scheduled for the semester. Make a note of where the academic counselors’ offices are located and when the study group meetings are held.

Getting started as soon as possible will help you feel less anxious.

Know Yourself and Give Yourself a Break

As an international student, it is critical to know that you are embarking on a journey that will change your life. Try to accept change at a rate that you are comfortable with, so that you do not lose your sense of self. On the other hand, it is quite acceptable to miss home. After all, part of the study abroad experience is gaining the necessary skills to cope with being away from home. It is quite acceptable to want to Skype with your parents or communicate with pals back home without feeling uncomfortable.

Everyone is in a distinct position, and everyone learns at a different speed than the other.

A piece of advice: It is difficult to maintain a balance between who you were at home and who you are at school, but it is necessary to make an effort.

When phoning or Skyping home, stick to a strict timetable. Create tactics to help you get through the difficult periods, such as viewing a movie to distract yourself from your homesickness while you are away.

When to Ask for Help

If you are having a difficult time adjusting to your new environment, you may be suffering from something more serious. Depressive feelings, intense homesickness, or indulging in hazardous activities such as alcohol or drug misuse are all indications that it is time to seek professional advice and assistance. Student advisors, foreign student services departments, peer mentors, and campus mental health experts are all there to help you get through whatever you’re going through. Make a time to meet with a trusted advisor and discuss your options.

Keep in mind that culture shock is common for the great majority of international students, and you will acclimate to your new environment.

Learn how Shorelight can assist international students in making the adjustment to campus life as smooth as possible.

Coping with Culture Shock

During and after your study abroad experience, you will go through a spectrum of emotions. Recall that early confusion is a typical part of the process of adapting to a different culture. This emotion will pass quickly, and you will soon come to appreciate your newfound freedom. While it may be disturbing, culture shock may be a positive learning experience that helps you get a better knowledge of your host culture as well as yourself. The ability to prepare oneself is one of the most effective ways for minimizing culture shock.

Understanding Culture Shock in 5 Steps

  • The Stage of the Honeymoon It’s natural to be intrigued by cultural differences when you first arrive in a new country, and you may feel eager, aroused, and interested about your surroundings. On arriving, there is a sense of pleasure, and you will be amazed at the differences you will see and experience. It is similar to any new experience. You will be energized, stimulated, and enriched as a result of this experience. During this period, you will still feel a strong connection to all that is familiar to you at home
  • The Stage of Distress Differences begin to have an influence a short time later. Everything you go through no longer feels fresh
  • In fact, it’s starting to make you feel depressed. Some people experience feelings of confusion, isolation, or inadequacy, and they realize that their traditional support networks (such as family and friends) are no longer immediately available. This is the stage of re-intergration. During this period, you may develop an aversion to the culture, the language, and the cuisine. It’s possible that you’ll dismiss it as inferior and maybe acquire certain biases towards the new culture. Your emotions may be heightened and you may get agitated, annoyed, or even violent toward others around you. It’s possible that you’ll come to regret your decision to study abroad. It is possible that you may begin to idealize life “back home” and compare your present culture to what you are used to. Don’t be concerned. This is a very natural and healthy reaction, since it indicates that you are adjusting to your new environment. You are re-establishing contact with the aspects of yourself and your own culture that you value. Autonomy StageThis is the initial step of accepting someone as they are. This stage is frequently referred to as the emergence stage since it occurs when you begin to emerge from the ‘fog’ and begin to feel more like yourself again. You begin to accept the differences and believe that you are capable of learning to live with them. Because of your developing knowledge and experience, you will feel more confident and better equipped to deal with any challenges that may emerge. You no longer feel alone, and are instead able to take in the sights and sounds of the environment around you and appreciate where you are
  • Stage of Self-Sufficiency You’ll start to feel more like yourself again. You learn to appreciate the new culture and perceive things in a fresh, yet realistic, perspective. Things begin to become more pleasurable. You’re at ease, confident, and capable of making judgments based on your own tastes and values, rather than those of others. You no longer have a sense of being alone and lonely. You will come to recognize and appreciate the distinctions and similarities that exist between the cultures of your home and your host. You begin to feel comfortable

Symptoms of culture shock range from physical to emotional. They may include:

  • Headaches, difficulty sleeping or sleeplessness, loss of appetite, irritability and rage over little grievances are among symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Homesickness
  • There is a sense of desolation, loneliness, and fragility
  • Idealization of one’s own family’s culture Feeling self-conscious or uneasy
  • Feeling bewildered or befuddled
  • The decision to relocate to the host country is being questioned

Positive efforts can also be taken to assist you cope with any potential emotions of loneliness or shock you may be experiencing. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Before you travel, learn about the history, politics, cultural norms, etiquette, and educational systems of the nation where you will be staying. Consult with other students who have been overseas
  • When you first arrive, start maintaining a notebook as soon as you get settled into your new home. Make an effort to step outside of your comfort zone
  • It may be difficult at first, but it is an essential part of the process. Make an effort to meet new people by honing your language abilities. Find at least one person to confide in, such as a fellow student, a professor, or a host parent, in the event that issues develop. Involve yourself in a pleasurable pastime that will help you meet new people. Excursions should be planned, as should participation in sports and leisure activities.

Find your support systems:

If you are the sole ISEP student from your home institution in the program of study you have selected, keep in mind that you are not alone in your situation. When dealing with any concerns that may emerge throughout your program, your host ISEP Coordinator may be a valuable resource. Foreign students’ organizations and groups at your host university may also be available, providing you with the opportunity to meet other individuals who have had challenges that are comparable to your own.

8 Tips On How To Prevent Or Deal With Culture Shock

With all of the fascinating difficulties and new educational and cultural experiences that come with studying and living in Asia, most of the time it is a wonderful life-changing event. When the problems and cultural differences become too much to bear, you may suffer symptoms such as homesickness, boredom, loneliness, and even rage, among other things. This is referred to as “cultural shock.” So, what do you do when culture shock strikes you hard and you begin to miss your family and friends?

Continue reading for our top 8 recommendations on how to avoid or deal with culture shock when traveling in Asia, and how to make the most of your stay there!

1. Understand

When you move to a foreign country, it is natural to feel culture shock at first. That is why it is important to understand why you could be feeling uneasy or worried in the first place. In addition to dealing with a diverse range of cultural and religious values and attitudes, you will also encounter a variety of languages and political and religious views. This can be a bit intimidating at first. It’s no surprise you’re missing home! The fact that you don’t have to enjoy or be enthused about everything will assist tremendously.

If you make an effort to understand why something is different, you will begin to have a better knowledge of the local way of life and culture.

Having a positive attitude will make you feel less uneasy and worried.

2. Accept and Adapt

Make an effort to understand that you are going through a cultural shock. Realizing this can assist you in dealing with it more effectively. When you accept and adapt to a new culture, you can overcome the effects of culture shock. “It was a complete mess at the start, and I was on the verge of booking a trip back to Finland.” But, little by little, my life began to calm and the vision through my dark glasses became more clear. I began to see some favorable changes in my own personality. Bali was given a second opportunity by me.

3. Learn and be Open-Minded

Take the time to learn as much as you can about your location. As you learn and grow in your open-mindedness, it becomes easier to recognize and accept differences, as well as to see things from a new perspective and therefore to adapt. It also helps a great deal to be familiar with certain essential phrases in the local language! “Knowledge is the most important thing. – “The more you know in advance, the less difficult it is when you are confronted with the reality of the situation.” Suvi, a specialist in international relations, says Culture shock can be difficult to deal with unless you have knowledge of the situation.

4. Positive Attitude

If you want to get the most out of your trip, be sure to concentrate on all of the positive parts rather than adopting a negative frame of mind. Spend time with individuals that are optimistic in their outlook, have fun, and experience the wonderful energy! “I went to live in another country for a year. After two weeks, I was ready to return to my native country. Because of how congested my city was and the fact that I could not grasp the language, I was really depressed. My pet peeves were the terrible traffic and the taxi drivers who believed that wearing a seat belt was an attack on their authority.

Then I recognized that I wasn’t going to be there indefinitely, and I was able to focus on the positive aspects of my situation.” student advisor – Katri If you keep a cheerful attitude and yield to the pleasant vibrations, you will get the most out of your international experience.

5. Touch Base with Home

It’s important to keep in touch with relatives and friends back in your native country. But bear in mind that if you spend all of your time connected to them, it will just serve to exacerbate your homesickness. So, put your phone away for a moment and go exploring with your friends! “Whenever you are feeling very homesick, my suggestion is to refrain from calling home. It may sometimes make you feel even more stranded than you already do. Put on your favorite music and go to a spot where you can be alone and unwind, whether it’s a park or the beach or a library or a restaurant or somewhere else.” — Nina, the International Coordination Coordinator Call your relatives and friends, but avoid staying in touch with them for an extended period of time.

6. Don’t Compare

It is inevitable that there will be disparities everywhere, but try to avoid comparing them to those in your native country. It will not assist you in settling in. As an alternative, use the contrasts as a chance to learn about a new culture and to develop personally! “There is no such thing as a perfect country. Every country, including your own, has its advantages and disadvantages.” Students are advised by Katri, the Student Advisor. Don’t make any comparisons! As an alternative, use the contrasts as a chance to learn about a new culture and to develop yourself.

7. Stay Active

Start a new activity and take advantage of opportunities you may otherwise miss out on. In the case of Bali, why not attempt yoga or martial arts if you’re studying in Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok? Take part in the popular activities with the people, enjoy Asian cuisine, and discover the country’s hidden jewels. The list might go indefinitely. Given that you are already in a foreign country, why not take full advantage of your situation and accomplish all you had hoped to do before beginning your semester there?

“This will help you to get your mind off of problems, and you will become immersed in the new way of living while simultaneously developing a “regular” everyday life routine.” The International Co-ordinator is Elsi.

You might also be interested in:Challenges of Studying Abroad

Start a new activity and take advantage of opportunities you may otherwise miss out on. Why not try your hand at yoga?

8. Explore

Travel to different locations and learn about your environment. As a result, you will get a greater appreciation for your new house, as well as several unique experiences. Don’t look back and wonder what may have been. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; take advantage of it while you still have the chance! “It is important to remember that your time abroad will not endure indefinitely, so make the most of it and consider what you can do that you cannot do at home.” student advisor – Katri Your semester abroad will be an unforgettable experience that you will remember for a lifetime.

While you still have the opportunity, get out there and explore and learn everything you can!

Learn more about our travel locations by visiting this page.

They are based in Helsinki.

Become a subscriber to our bimonthly newsletter! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any inquiries regarding studying abroad! We’ll get back to you as soon as we can with a response. Posted by Fabian, our Digital Marketing Coordinator, who has written this post!

Understanding and Dealing with Culture Shock

As college students who are studying abroad prepare for their time abroad by packing and making plans, I would advise them to consider — and be prepared for — the possibility of experiencing culture shock. Culture shock is one of the most commonly discussed and frequently misunderstood components of any overseas trip, and it may be particularly difficult to deal with. According to technical definition, culture shock is the state of perplexity, disorientation, and emotional upheaval that occurs as a result of being immersed in a new culture.

  • Perhaps you’re tired of trying to make yourself understood all of the time and would just prefer to chat with someone who understands you.
  • These seemingly insignificant issues inflate into major issues.
  • You’re going through a period of cultural shock.
  • But, after a while, the fantastic gives way to dissatisfaction, melancholy, and perplexity, which is frequently sparked by an occurrence involving seemingly little cultural differences.
  • You’re a little wiser now, and you’re ready to go on.
  • TMC |
  • All intellectual property rights are retained.
  • Most likely, they did, but they may not have recognized it as such, or they may be too ashamed to discuss their experiences with you.
  • That would be unfortunate, and we absolutely do not advocate that you proceed in this manner.
  • It is critical that you prepare for and learn how to deal with culture shock before you travel.

As so many others have discovered, doing so is one of the most effective ways to benefit from the profound personal growth that comes with living overseas. Here are some pointers on how to deal with culture shock in general and specifically:

  • Assume that there are differences until the resemblance is verified. Individuals should be considered rather than a “culture.” Instead of working against a culture, work with it. “Can you tell me what I need to understand?” not “what should I do?” but rather “what should I do?” Listening and observing, thinking and then speaking
  • Concentrate on the advantages of differences rather than merely striving to avoid making mistakes.
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The truth is that practically everyone who spends a substantial amount of time abroad suffers some degree of culture shock with every major cultural change — whether it’s transitioning to a new culture or coping with a new ethnic group or sub-culture back home. If you are working on a project on your home campus with a varied group of individuals from different backgrounds, or if you are returning to the United States after spending time overseas, you may feel a form of culture shock. Whatever the circumstances of your contacts, you will need to learn to cope with them.

  1. You will put to good use the coping techniques that you have found to be most effective for you.
  2. This flexibility is vital because you will need to deal and move on from these interactions rather than allowing them to stifle your progress or experiences.
  3. Having said that, if you discover that your episode of culture shock has developed into a persistent, unpleasant strain that is becoming worse rather than better, consider this a warning sign and consider reaching out to your sending program or a local consultant for assistance.
  4. This is why many students wish they had lived abroad for a longer period of time once they return home; they know that it does become easier with time.
  5. However, while returning home, it is common to experience cultural shock.
  6. Visit the popularCulture Shock!series for further information about culture shock.

How to manage culture shock

Whether it’s a quarrel at work or the local sense of humor, a case of culture shock may make living abroad a less enjoyable experience. What are the most effective culture shock management tactics, and how can you put them into practice in your international life? Acclimatization to the local culture expresses itself differently in practically everyone, but each seasoned expat will have a tale to share about the process of becoming acquainted with the local culture. It is necessary to go through and overcome culture shock as part of this process.

The physical and psychological manifestations of culture shock differ from one expat to the next, as does the amount to which each individual is hampered by the experience. The good news is that there are numerous ways that may be used to reduce the severity of the condition and manage its symptoms.

What is culture shock?

Everybody goes through a period of cultural shock. Most commonly, it is characterized as the rollercoaster of emotions that we experience when we first arrive in a country that is different from our own. According to the findings of the research, there are five stages:

  • Fascinating (Stage I): This is the stage where you are in love. Everything about this new environment appears to be fascinating, interesting, and exciting
  • Stage II is a source of frustration: During this stage, daily problems develop as a result of the transition to a new environment. It’s possible that you’ll begin to notice significant disparities between life in your home country and life in the nation where you’re now living. When you buy groceries, flirt with a date from another culture, engage with the government, or don’t have holidays (such as theLunar New Year or Ramadan) that are essential to you observed by your new nation, the most unpleasant sentiments come to the surface here. Communication issues are particularly aggravating because they elicit sentiments of deep discontent, resentment, wrath, despair, and ineptitude in the recipient of the communication. At this period, it is typical to feel homesick. Achievable (Stage III): This stage is intended to provide a reprieve from the unpleasant emotions experienced during Stage II. You may be feeling better at this location because things are looking up. You have accepted and are learning the ins and outs of living in a foreign country. Understanding is gaining ground here, both in terms of local culture and in terms of the native language. When you meet someone new, you may find that you are more comfortable speaking in the local language and that you are adjusting to new greeting practices. The difficulties encountered at the second stage no longer appear to be monumental
  • Enjoyable (Stage IV): At this point, the new location is beginning to seem more like home. It is possible that you will develop a strong attachment to your new house. Perhaps you’ve met some new acquaintances in the area, or you’ve even been in a serious relationship with someone from the area
  • Longing (Stage V) is characterized by the following characteristics: This stage, also known as the re-entry stage, is exclusively experienced by expats who have returned to their home country after living abroad. After several years of living abroad, your own nation may appear unfamiliar or even strange to you at times. When people come home from overseas, many of them attempt to re-immerse themselves in the life that was interrupted when they left the country. Frustrations can arise as a result of the fact that friends or family members have moved on in their life.

Being aware of cultural differences

Unfortunately, international corporations frequently fail to provide their staff with the necessary training to deal with culture shock. They make the mistake of assuming that a nice holiday experience in a foreign nation would translate into a simple integration process once they return home. Working in a foreign culture (let alone dating someone from a different culture) is a very different experience. Being conscious of cultural differences is the first step in coping with culture shock, according to experts.

Sociopsychologist Geert Hofstede performed a study of national cultures using a set of six dimensions in an effort to quantify the fundamental values of a national culture in an attempt to define the core values of a country culture.

His cultural tools enable users to compare and contrast the cultural values of other countries.

When it comes to cultural frictions, what are the most prevalent sources that you’re likely to come across?

Cultural difference1: Rules

For example, many cultures may be classified depending on how they approach laws and regulations in their daily lives. Anglophone or Germanic cultures, on the one hand, place a high importance on structure and order, but their approach is frequently focused on getting things done and completing tasks quickly and efficiently. Mediterranean cultures, on the other hand, tend to place a high value on connection development and impromptu ways to issue solutions. For example, if a government official speaks to you in an extremely direct manner, or if a bartender appears to be taking an excessive amount of time speaking with each client, it’s simple to understand how tensions may build.

Cultural difference2: Time

Differences in perceptions of time are one of the most prevalent sources of conflict, and it’s also the one you’re most likely to encounter early on. An unknowing expat may get demented as a result of them, particularly for those who come from a society where timeliness is regarded as a show of respect. If you come from a culture where meeting times are more of a suggestion than a firm commitment, getting reprimanded for being late may be a humiliating experience.

Cultural difference3: Humor

Another source of contention is the use of humor. Sharing a laugh with a total stranger or in a business context is an easy method to establish rapport in many cultures (the British, for example); sharing a laugh here is a simple approach to establish rapport. When jokes are made in other countries, such as Germany, they might backfire because they are superficial and superfluous.

This might be interpreted as an example of rigid perfectionism that allows little space for innovation; in actuality, this may indicate that they are attempting to establish their credibility.

Cultural difference4: Communication

Different communication styles may be a time-bomb in the workplace, especially when there are several people involved. There are a variety of cultural preferences for engaging in extended hypothetical talks that yield few specific findings; meetings with French colleagues, for example, may be lacking in organization or perhaps lack an agenda entirely. Others like debates that have a clear and well-defined format, which allows participants to quickly compartmentalize all that has been stated throughout the discussion.

Addressing the symptoms of culture shock

But what exactly is typical cultural shock – of the nonviolent variety – in the first place? Essentially, it occurs when people realize that their current method of doing things is ineffective. It’s practically impossible to keep up with what used to be everyday habits. Frustration, weariness, nervousness, and sadness are all common symptoms of this condition. Your feelings of inability to cope with the differences will frequently manifest themselves as withdrawal from daily life, excessive sleep to avoid being awakened, and hostility towards the host culture.

  1. A person undergoing culture shock may find that this type of conduct is effective in the short term since it helps them to divert any blame away from themselves.
  2. What strategies can you use to deal with culture shock in a healthy way that will benefit your life while abroad?
  3. Consider this: in each relationship, you will experience both good and terrible situations at various times.
  4. It is precisely the same in your interactions with people from various cultures.

The first step in addressing culture shock

To begin, strive for a positive-to-negative interaction ratio of around 5:1: discover five positive interactions for every bad interaction during a particular period of time (weekly works best). For example, what is it that brightens your day in your new place of employment? Which activity do you prefer: visiting a museum, conversing with a friend over a cup of coffee, snapping photographs, attending a play, or shopping for gifts to send back home? Make a point of scheduling five of such activities each week to avoid missing out.

Then, once you’ve begun to treat the symptoms of culture shock on a more general level, you may narrow your focus on specific culture shock management tactics that might effect you in three separate ways: cognitively, emotionally, and physically.

Knowledge-based strategies for managing culture shock

Many expats are unable to recognize the signs and symptoms of culture shock, and instead believe that there is something wrong with themselves. Knowing that you are having a fully normal reaction to your international relocation (and are not going insane) is a huge relief. Consequently, the first step in managing culture shock – and your interaction with a different cultural group – is to recognize when you are in which stage of culture shock you are now experiencing. Recognizing this can assist you in stepping out of your current perspective and into another — one that is more motivating and contains greater creative potential.

  • Having as much information as possible about your new surroundings is advantageous.
  • Don’t be concerned if the explanation behind them isn’t immediately apparent; it will become plain in due course.
  • Simply by immersing yourself in the language, however, keep in mind that your immersion will proceed at a slower rate than that of a native speaker.
  • The majority of people are proud of their culture and take pleasure in demonstrating it to visitors.
  • Another beneficial alternative is cross-cultural training, which may be done either before to travel or while in the country.
  • Finding someone who is willing to serve as a cultural informant might be extremely beneficial in this situation.
  • Experts, on the other hand, advise that limiting your social interactions to fellow expats may hinder you from developing a stronger connection with your host country’s culture.

Emotion-based strategies for managing culture shock

There’s no getting around it: the most efficient approach to deal with culture shock is to change your outlook on things. The first step is to accept the pain of leaving behind a life that was comfortable and familiar. Take some time at the beginning of the process to lament what has happened, and then let it go so that you may concentrate on the present.

It is vital to have an open mind. Those who approach the new culture with an attitude of openness and respect will fare far better than those who approach it with suspicion and skepticism. To mitigate the negative impacts of culture shock, successful expats employ the measures outlined below: 1.

  • Construct a solid support system (e.g., friends, family, and coworkers) and understand when to call on it. Make a change in your mindset by considering your time abroad as a chance for personal improvement. Push yourself beyond of your comfort zone, even if it’s only for a few minutes each day
  • Keep a diary or blog to keep track of your events, ideas, and feelings
  • Make light of the situation and believe in your own ability. Get to know the people that live there
  • Learn and utilize the language by putting out the necessary effort. Maintain and strengthen familial ties. Establish small, attainable goals and review their progress on a regular basis. When things go wrong, don’t instantly place the blame on the host culture.

The ability to accept and embrace your host culture is critical for coping with culture shock, but this does not imply that you must renounce your own culture. In a new setting, the brain is continually inundated with novel stimuli; take a mental pause every now and then to allow yourself a chance to assimilate new knowledge and re-establish your cultural identity.

Physical strategies for managing culture shock

When dealing with the difficulties of expat life, bodily strain is almost always a result. You might become unwell if you don’t take proper precautions. Maintaining healthy physical routines is critical in the fight against culture shock. Daily physical activity is essential, and any type of relaxation therapy, such as yoga, meditation, or a massage, never goes astray, too. Improving your living environment may also be beneficial; for example, having a pet at home can make your home feel more inviting.

It is conceivable that avoiding culture shock completely will not be possible.

Because of this, its sometimes devastating effects may be handled with the appropriate measures, which is good news for everyone.

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