How To Deal With Culture Shock: An Insight For International Students

culture shock for international students

Written by Nashwaa ShahRukh

I started my career in marketing at the age of 19 and gradually realised my true passion lies in writing. Throughout my life’s journey, I realised one thing... the difference between ‘interest’ & ‘passion’. Stories, I believe, are omnipresent. You knowingly or unknowingly breathe, write, see, & tell stories.

December 1, 2021

There are numerous advantages to studying overseas, however, this does not always signify that it is simple. When you’re studying abroad, it’s fair to miss home, especially if you’re absorbed in a culture that’s unlike your own. Culture shock for international students can be a hard hit. But, there are ways to overcome those feelings. Keep reading this blog to understand culture shock for international students to get an insight on how to deal with it.

What Is A Culture Shock For International Students?

International students may experience culture shock while they encounter something new or unusual, such as witnessing how massive American vehicles are or being offered a large platter of meal for the very first time in an American restaurant. It is also known as a sensory overload or a resistance to change. Feeling disoriented, confused or anxious at an unfamiliar place where people follow different customs comes as a culture shock for international students who leave their home country to a foreign land. 

Factors That Can Contribute To Culture Shock For International Students

  1. Language:

It’s exhausting to listen to and talk in a foreign language. People speak quickly, and you may feel self-conscious about asking them to repeat themselves. If English isn’t your first language, you can find yourself missing it.

  1. Climate:

For a majority of students studying in countries where it snows, the weather takes a toll on their physical and mental health and extreme weather conditions leave an impact of culture shock in international students. 

  1. Social Behaviours:

Different social roles also affect students and sometimes trigger the feeling of culture shock in international students. For example, as a student, you may find people very distant, cold, or always in a rush or hurry. 

  1. Values

This can be food, dressing, behaviour, customs, and other things. Finding out that others do not reflect you’re most firmly held beliefs can be startling and sometimes disturbing, as most of us take our basic values and beliefs for granted and think they are shared by everyone.

How To Deal With Culture Shock For International Students?

Try To Find Out The Cultural Do’s And Don’ts

When you first land in a foreign country, you may be jet-lagged and exhausted from the flight, which can add to an overall sense of culture shock for international students as you try to get to know your new surroundings. Do your research before getting on that plane and before you enter the country to live your dreams. Always be aware of what the local customs and traditions are of the country. Knowing this information in advance can help you start slowly processing anything that might shock you.

Trying Out New Cuisines Is Not A Bad Idea

Rather than avoiding a new dish altogether, you must give it a shot and go for it. Take a walk to the closest grocery store, go through the aisle and see what new you can find to maybe try during the weekend with your new friends at your student accommodation. You never know which food item can unexpectedly become your favourite. In many cases, the breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals you’ve become used to would not be the same in other regions of the world.

Don’t Be Shy To Ask For Directions

Not knowing how to get around can be very frustrating sometimes. You might not want to ask around because you think it might bother people. But, you never know you might even make a friend or two. So get around, talk to people at your university, ask them how local transport works in the city. People will be pleased to provide you with directions to get there. You can always inquire at your university’s foreign office about the best ways to move around a city or for the name of a trustworthy cab company. And of course, Google has got your back!

Talk About What You’ve Gone Through

Talking always helps. Ask others if you don’t understand how it really works or to do something in your new country. You’ll be accompanied by other learners who are feeling similar culture shock and bewilderment, or you can talk to your roommates. Both will be eager to assist you and make your time studying abroad more comfortable.

Friends and family back home will be eager to hear about your new study abroad experience, so keep in touch with them on the phone or via video calling on a frequent basis. Discuss the aspects of the new country that you enjoy as well as those that you despise.

While most symptoms of culture shock pass quickly, in certain circumstances, it might lead to feelings of isolation, homesickness, or even despair. So, if you’re experiencing cultural differences while studying in a foreign land, keep in mind that there are slow adjustment tactics to attempt as well as support available if you need assistance finding your balance.

Thank you for reading this blog on the ‘Culture Shock For International Students’. If you’d like to read more, make sure you check out the following blogs – 

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