Studying abroad is not a distant dream anymore. Today many students opt for international education to enhance their career prospects and create a better future for themselves. Given the quality of education, post-study work opportunities, and umpteen opportunities, studying abroad can be a life-changing decision – definitely a decision made for good.
However, when the students land on foreign soil, they have to face several challenges – from unfamiliar cuisine to different languages, different weather conditions to dissimilar social etiquette, and more. Don’t worry, Culture Shock, as it is known, is natural.
What is Culture Shock?
Culture shock is the feeling of confusion or disorientation when you find yourself in an environment, with which you are unfamiliar. Culture shock is experienced by nearly all international students. There are several ways to deal with culture shock, but the first step in the direction is to understand and accept that culture shock is real, and there are several ways to overcome it.
There are several common symptoms indicating that a student is suffering from culture shock:
5 Tips to Overcome Cultural Shock:
Culture shock, no matter how stressful it is, can be easily dealt with if you remain calm & accept the changes as they come. Here are a few ways that can help you deal with it when studying abroad.
It is well established that when you move abroad for studies, settling in a new country will be difficult. Thus, it is important to gain prior knowledge of the country you are moving to. Update yourself with the country’s culture, social norms, language & any other information that can help you with your stay in the country.
Acceptance is Important:
It is normal for international students to feel homesick – all students experience a period of adjustment during the first few weeks. You have to be patient and accept that being homesick is a natural process while getting accustomed to the country. There will be times when you will be excited and intrigued with the changes, but there will also be times when you will be depressed and frustrated. Accept the situation and deal with it calmly.
Find Ways to Relieve Stress:
Undoubtedly adjusting to a new place, that to a different country, can be stressful. During this phase, you must identify the ways that can help you release your stress. For a few, exercising help, and a few find solace in the books. You have to choose your stress busters and work in the right direction.
Several students go into their shells when they feel depressed and try to be alone – definitely not the correct way to deal with culture shock. It is a good idea to keep contact with your family and friends who can help you stay motivated and positive. You can also make new friends who can help you adjust to your new surroundings.
Seek Professional Help if Required:
There is no shame in approaching advisors, counsellors, and professors if you are in distress. Most universities have well-trained facilitators or counsellors to help their students who are facing difficulties in adjusting to the new environment.
Culture shock is an absolutely common reaction when you land in a new country to study and happens to most international students. It can be easily dealt with if you accept it and the new culture.
If you are still not comfortable and need support to overcome mental stress due to culture shock, you can reach out to our counsellors at Jamboree. We would be happy to hear you out and support you with the best guidance possible.