Studying abroad is a big step, leaving your country, your people, cultural food and your family. It is a big transition from being used to living by the written and unwritten rules of your culture to learning new rules and ideas of another country. Students often find it very difficult to adjust in such a situation.
Very often students feel homesick thinking about their family, which is residing very far from them. Missing the food is another big aspect of being an international student. All these factors are often ignored but play a very important role in the adjustment and development of these international students.
So how to tackle such situations and survive the cultural shock in the foreign land? Let us find out.
- Learn about different cultures and how to mesh with people of other cultures:
Countries all across the globe have different cultures and different opinions towards various concepts. Take for example tipping in restaurants in Japan is not considered disrespectful, whereas not tipping in the USA is taken negatively.
So, one should mix up with as many people as possible, learn about their culture, respect the differences and learn to how to deal with them. This will also help you make a lot of new friends to socialise with, better your network of contacts.
- Explore the country and learn about it:
You can learn a lot about the country you are studying by books, watching shows and movies.
There are various fictional stories written by various authors and set in different countries, which express a lot about their culture.
Also, there are various American and British television shows that can be watched to understand the thinking of the people over there and getting used to their language.
One can also try the works by local artists for a better understanding of their world.
- Identify the unspoken customs & rules of the Country:
Identify the unspoken customs, rules and practices of the country you study in. For example in Russia friendliness can get the work done better than taking a stand. Similarly, Canadians are known for their politeness and meek nature.
This would help the students to mix up better in a foreign environment and make him / her familiar with the code of conduct around a place.
- Spend less time in missing home and explore the outside world more:
Try to forget home for a while. It is going to be a tough job and students would get homesick but it is necessary for students to stop thinking about home and the things related to it in order to live better and perform well their respective academic environment.
Instead of missing home, students should get curious again and observe how things work in the outside world. Never hesitate to ask your friends and teachers the questions you need an answer to, the queries which will help you to adapt to the new environment. Open ended questions can help you exchange more and more questions.
- Overcome the Language barrier:
The language barrier is a common problem while shifting to a new country especially when English is not the native language of that country.
A student can easily overcome this obstacle by learning the native language of the country, either by joining classes or by spending more time with the locals.
- Get involved in various activities:
During your time in the universities, you will get a lot of opportunities for getting involved in extracurricular activities. Do not miss these opportunities as you may get to learn a lot about the people and their habits from these activities. Thus it is very important to take part in these activities.
- Prepare for the weather:
Make sure to research about the weather of the host country. As it may be very different from that of your country. One may need to prepare his suitcase wardrobe accordingly.
- Learn to be self-dependent:
Learn to do your work like cooking, washing and cleaning on your own, as it is tough to find help abroad. This is a big reason why people experience difficulties in studying abroad. By being able to cook the food of your country you may feel more comfortable
- Explore the City :
Explore the city and the area you are staying in. Visit new places and experience the culture. Try and get used to the local food. Make friends with whom you can socialise and who can help you in case if you need help.
- Ask for assistance from university:
The international office can assist you to find accommodation, fee payment plans and help you find part time work.You can always ask for their help whenever needed.
- Be prepared to face challenges:
In the end, you have to be prepared to face challenges. There is no escape to this and you have to accept that you will have to face difficulties at the start.
However, it is important to accept this fact and keep an open mind about this as this is going to help you to cope up during the difficult times.
It is only a matter till you get used to it. After that, the host country will feel like your home country!