Studying abroad is a life-changing experience that everyone has to discover. However, you might encounter some culture shocks coming back from studying abroad. To help you with this encounter, we list the top 10 most common culture shocks that you might run into coming back from studying abroad. Look out for some of these surprises!
1. Trouble Speaking English
Studying abroad gives you the phenomenal opportunity to not only become acquainted with the country but also with its language. Immersing yourself in a country where they speak your desired language is the best way to efficiently learn that language. You receive the most intense form of language learning when studying abroad because no one will go out of their way to speak to you in your native language.
However, after the intensive experience, some culture shocks might include difficulty speaking in your native tongue because your exposure to English had been very limited. Just remember that as quickly you learned the foreign language, will be how quickly you will start to pick up in your native tongue. You might stumble on a few words, but do not fret and enjoy the ride!
If you studied abroad in Europe, then you will be aware of the fact that everything was close in proximity and easy to get by on foot. You could easily cross the street to get your groceries for the week or meet a couple of friends at the local restaurant only a few blocks away.
Some culture shocks that you might experience are going to be related to distance. In other words, in the United States, we value our car culture which allows you to traverse long distances. So, you might have some difficulty getting readapted to the car and the amount of time you spend in the vehicle! These culture shocks will pass especially when you use the car more frequently.
Culture shocks relating to fashion are in fact surprising and might make you question why those back home do not leave those sweatpants at home! Yes, it is true, people abroad try to dress their best in order to display respect for themselves and for those around them. Dressing to impress is definitely a phrase that they take seriously. However, they try to fill their wardrobe with pieces that exemplify style and comfortability.
So, it might appear as a shock to you that, back home, people do not put much emphasis on their appearance. In a way, it is a good thing, because you do not always have to look your best, after all, we all have those days. But you should not care what those around you wear or think, this is your style and you need to rock whatever style you want!
In many foreign countries, a popular pastime is enjoying the food and the company of friends at a local restaurant. Some culture shocks regarding pass time is a big one for those coming back home from their trip. In other words, your friends back home might ask you to meet for coffee and spend at most, less than an hour in that setting.
In most countries, a pass time is spending possibly hours at the restaurant. For most, relaxing and not rushing food is a popular pass time which might lead to other things in the night. So, it might come as a shock to you that the relaxed culture in the United States and among your friends is not that widespread especially when it comes to pass time. It is okay, every country has its differences and the most important thing to do is to embrace them!
Do you miss looking at those beautiful and quaint houses that are lined up next to each other? Yeah, me too. It might come as a shock that those buildings might not appear in the United States and take away from your studying abroad aesthetic. A big part of studying abroad is choosing a country which you might think is beautiful and completely different from your hometown. Culture shocks regarding architecture and the buildings that surround you can seriously surprise you because the first thing that we notice is the layout of the town. Your suburban life may not be ideal, but it’s home!
They say that people are not as friendly to you abroad compared to the United States. Some culture shocks can come from the way people interact with you. You might have gotten used to the cold attitude of those Europeans to strangers and have moved past the entire shock of it. However, the pleasant surprise of people smiling and engaging in conversation with you might be a culture shock that might be the easiest to overcome after your amazing experience and something that you possibly missed!
So you might have had the breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower from your apartment, but back home you have a pleasant view of your garden. These culture shocks might be the shocks that might surprise you the most. During moments like these, it is important to find beauty in the little things like your garden. Remind yourself that you will always have the chance to return to that view! So embrace your hometown for the time being!
The delicious pizza that you might have eaten in Italy is not the same as the “authentic Italian pizza” in your hometown. Coming home to food that not might be as mouth-watering during your experience abroad might be a culture shock that will take some time to get used to. However, on the bright side, you can always try cooking yourself to remind you of the magical moments at those restaurants, while also mastering your cooking skills! Your friends will be so jealous!
In foreign countries, they do not have a strict nightlife like they might have in the United States. In other words, your night outings until the early morning might be a culture shock that you might need to accept and get used to. In most parts of the United States, many bars and restaurants close at a specific time, but in most foreign countries, they can go for the entire day and night! You can always find other ways to get that fun in until sunrise, but I would enjoy the beauty of getting up at a regular hour in the morning!
The university that you might have studied at most likely did not have an amazing sports team, like we do in the United States. Culture shocks regarding your university are a common form of culture shock that you will encounter, especially when it comes to school spirit. However, a pleasant culture shock you will have will be returning to that cheerful nature that you probably missed. Even if you consider it to be a culture shock, let’s face it, this is something you truly missed!