So you’ve made it to your study abroad destination, congratulations! At first you felt excited about your latest surroundings and were eager to learn about your new home for the semester. But now the novelty of the new culture has worn off. You’re starting to feel homesick and grow easily frustrated with small issues. It may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry it’s all a part of your adjustment.
It’s completely normal to go through this stage and experience a culture shock, especially if there are vast differences from what you’re used to. Follow these tips to help adjust to a new culture while studying abroad, and make the transition less painful. Your time abroad can become the most rewarding adventure in your life!
You must remain interested in learning about the new culture. With a positive attitude you will be able to see and experience so much more. Leave your prejudices behind and allow yourself to become more aware of what is around you.
You’re not the only one adjusting to new surroundings. Find someone else who is an international student so you can have someone to share these new experiences with. It’s also important to become friends with at least one person native to the country you are living in. Get involved with a sports team, join a new club, and talk to as many people as you can!
Immerse yourself in the cultural experience of your new home. Living in England? Go to a pub and watch football with the locals while you eat some fish and chips. Studying in Paris? Sit at a café and practice your French over a croissant. No matter where you are, you can find something specific to the local culture.
It may seem like you have no time to even think, but you’re going to want to remember the details from this experience. To help remember most of it, and feel less stressed, record or write your first impressions, thoughts, concerns, or whatever you want to remember!
Don’t hide in your room all day or only socialize with other Americans. Get out of your comfort zone and explore the area you are living in. Go to popular sites and get involved in specific activities. Also make sure to take lots of walks so you can become familiar with the local shops, restaurants, and town favorites.
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