Do You Know About Cultural Shocks While Studying Abroad and How to Deal With It
Moving to a foreign country is a very big step that requires many sacrifices and adjustments. Before you move to the destination, you have to deal with many obstacles. Even after you move abroad, there are things that don’t let you down your guard. Here I am discussing one of those problems.
Cultural shock is a very big issue that many students face after they have moved abroad for their education. Though it doesn’t sound like much big of a deal it still causes a great deal of tension for them. It is goal of studyabroad.pk to support studying abroad and bring solutions of every problem that you might face in this journey. In this article, team study abroad has acknowledged this problem and brought the best tips to overcome it.
What is Cultural Shock?
When you move to a new place where culture is different from where you used to live, you will get sense of confusion and disorientation in your daily life. This sense is cultural shock. You feel it when you are not entirely used to the new place. It takes time to adapt in a new color and this adaption has a few stages after which you no longer remain the victim of cultural shock.
In first stage, you will compare the two customs that you used to live in and in which you live now. You will see everything with an eye that finds similarities between the two. In this phase you admire everything that is new.
Second stage, in contrast to first comprises dislikes and criticism. In this phase you will start hating the fact that things are not as you are used to and that there organization and everything is different.
In third stage, you will start adapting the changes and will be able to relax. Here you will again start to like things and try to blend in with it.
In fourth and final stage, your efforts of trying to mix in the new culture will bring colors. This where you are entirely satisfied and comfortable with things around you like it is a home. However, you will still occasional or frequently miss your friends and family back at home.
If you now understand what cultural shock is then you must have already guessed and you will suffer from this. So the question comes to its solution. How do we be prepared for it and decrease the problems to minimum number.
1 - Prior Research About Culture
You are shocked because of the new things around you. If you are already mentally prepared for it, you won’t feel much cultural shock. What you should do is research about the country and its culture that you chose as your study abroad destination. You should search on internet about the type of people that live there. You should know about their religion, beliefs, values and all customs and traditions. Make sure you know what people eat there, how they communicate, their fashion and styles.
2 - Keep an Open Mind
A narrow mind will lead you nowhere. If you have spent your entire life in only one society, you not more open to the world and feel even the slightest of change. When going abroad make sure you always keep an open mind. It has many perks in addition to help in cultural shock. By keeping an open mind you will be able acknowledge the fact that just because things are different does not necessarily mean worse.
People and things may be different but it is no reason to dislike them. We have our own likes and they have their own. A major change that students feel is the way people dress especially in European countries. Keep in mind that this is their own culture, they are free and we don’t have any right to criticize them.
3 - Make Some Local Friends
Once you settle in your destination, you should make some local friends. By local I mean the native people of that country. People don’t just become friends without communication. You should force yourself to communicate and talk with some natives and make friends with them. By spending time with them, you will be more open, get used to new culture and start to like them. Plus you get new and unique friends.
How to make friends with people in a foreign country. This question is very easy for some people and most difficult for some. You don’t have to make friends with of your own age, gender or field. If you go to a cafeteria, you can behave nice and become friends the owner, cashier or whoever serves you. Likewise, a friend can be your neighbor, landlord or a shopkeeper etc.
4 - Share Confusions with Other Students
If you are having a little too much trouble settling in, you can always get guidance from your fellow students. You can talk to your class fellows or seniors, foreigner students or native; it doesn’t matter. Just by sharing your problem with someone who is settled will be more than enough. Even if you don’t get your solution still talking and sharing helps a great deal.
This cultural is not actually a negative thing. It depends on your personality how you take it. There are students who are afraid of it. But I know some students who look forward to it. Cultural difference is the most exciting part of studying abroad.
Cultural Shock: Experience of Students From 5 Different Continents
Usama Ahmed Awan
The Editor of StudyAbroad.pk, Usama is a BZU studied Software Engineer, now a Teacher, Article Writer, Educational Counselor and Journalist. He has been writing to assist students selecting the right career path.