One of the biggest perks of studying abroad is the opportunity to experience a different way of living. It’s a truly thrilling experience!
This doesn’t mean that the culture shock is a myth, though. It’s an actual thing and we’ve prepared a number of hacks to help you deal with it:
1. Do Your Research
There are many differences between countries (we’ve already enumerated a few differences between the United States and Turkey) but even if they’re big, most people manage to get used to them.
It’s much less challenging to ease into a new way of living if you’re somewhat prepared for the experience. That’s why it’s a good idea to research the country you’re moving to temporarily, before you get on the plane.
To start learning about your destination simply visit expat forums as well as look for relevant articles on the web. Chances are you’re not the only one with such fears so try asking around too!
2. Don’t Become a Loner
There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert and some people naturally need less social interactions than others. However, when you study abroad the culture shock you experience will only get stronger, if you spend most of your time on your own or chatting to your family back home.
Try to get out of your comfort zone. Connecting with your fellow students may be easier in the beginning than becoming friends with locals. You share the same fears and problems, after all. When you get used to things, try making friends with people from the country you’re temporarily based in. You’ll see how much you have in common and it’ll help you get over the culture shock.
3. Keep an Open Mind
You can either label everything you see in the new country as weird… or call it different. Remember that even though people behave in a different manner than in your home country, their way of being is natural to them.
Try not to judge other customs or behaviors and keep an open mind. Such an attitude will help you not only truly appreciate your stay abroad but also make friends. The culture shock is much less pronounced if you have a beginner’s mind!
4. It’s Okay Not to Be Okay
Sometimes the culture shock will just feel like too much to handle and that’s okay. On a day when that happens, you may feel very homesick and irritable. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Such feelings are just a part of the experience.
Allow yourself to sulk for a day, maybe skip going out after your language course. Chat to your friends and family at home or watch a movie in your language in the evening.
Don’t allow yourself to dwell on such feelings, though. After a bad day, promise yourself to find out something new about the country you’re visiting and keep an open mind. Your excitement about discovering a new culture will soon come back.
5. Don’t Compare Everything to Your Home Country
Your home country and the country you study in may be very different. This is why you can be tempted to think that what you know is better. The reason why you feel that way is because humans like what’s familiar. This means that if an inhabitant of your host country went to visit yours, they would probably feel the same way as you do!
It’s okay to feel that way in the first stage of the culture shock but it’s not a good longterm attitude. Explore the new country fully. What do you like about it? Which customs are interesting? Which dishes do you like? Focus on the positive and turn your stay abroad into a great experience.
The culture shock is a natural part of your study abroad experience. Remember that almost everyone experiences it.
To be better prepared for your journey, read our article “Get Ready to Study Abroad with Our Useful Tips“. Another thing that you can do to prepare is to learn “Top 10 Most Common English Phrases You Will Use When Studying Abroad“.
Do you feel prepared to deal with the culture shock thanks to our hacks? Great! Choose and book your course today here: