Are you planning to go abroad for studies? Then it would be prudent to start preparing yourself to adjust with different cultures, atmospheres, lifestyles and food habits. It may seem difficult and even unnerving but there is no other way around it. If unprepared, you might just be in for a huge "Culture Shock" - a state of loneliness that engulfs people when they aren't prepared for the extremity of the cultural differences that come with the change of country. To avoid all this, it is essential to know the culture of your destination country well. Being prepared to adjust with the new culture increases your confidence and helps you in coping with the problems better. Besides, isn't it fun knowing new things and people? As a start, you can learn about the country's history, social customs, religion, current political structure, basic laws, food habits and language etc so that you are ready with the basics. Finer points like national emotions towards certain causes and countries can be picked up by befriending and interacting with local students. Some tips on these lines are listed below.
Cultural Adjustment Tips For Students Going Abroad
While Still At Home
Here are some useful cultural adjustment tips for students going and studying abroad.
Cultural Adjustment Tips for Students
- Avoid comparing your culture with others' and try to accept things with an open-mind. Student life is all about learning and knowing as much as you can about the new place and lifestyle could be the key to being happy even when far away from your loved ones. Learning more about the new culture and getting familiar with the basics can give you more exposure and enhance your learning experience.
- Do a proper research on food habits of that country. If you find problems adjusting your food habits then you can search for a place that serves your kind of food.
- Cultural and racial diversity are important aspects. Try understanding the different races that inhabit the country and what is the general sentiment of your destination country towards your race. Such sentiments affect immigrant students and hence, it is vital that you do your research well and choose your country of study diligently to avoid unpleasant experiences.
When In Rome, Do As Romans Do!
- Always remember that your aim is gaining education. Apart from your study time table, whenever you get time, visit nearby heritage centers, museums and other tourist sites to know more about the cultural heritage of that particular country.
- To prevent the feeling of homesickness, keep in touch with your family and friends via phone or email. You can also join societies representing your country in that very place.
- Even more important is to make new friends - both your fellow nationals and the locals. This way you can both avoid loneliness and learn more about the new country.
- Don't forget to keep your passport always with you because that is the proof of your identity in the foreign country.
- Develop the habit of listening and observing, rather than simply seeing and hearing. observe local people and adapt yourself wherever you can.
- Stay occupied so that you can get through the initial adjustment period easily. You can join a fitness club, a sports team or take part in social activities to overcome your solitude.
- Try to understand and obey the local norms. Dress yourself properly according to the new culture and tradition. Meet and greet the locals in their style. All these things boost confidence and also make you feel the part of the new culture. Don't forget, you are a guest in that country and it is your duty to adjust.
- Search for sensible reasons behind everything in the new culture that seems odd, confusing or frightening. Avoid downgrading or thinking negatively about the new culture.
- Take proper care of yourself and eat properly and pay attention to your physical health and learn to release stress.
To adjust anywhere, you must be flexible. But everything said and done, do not adjust to the point of changing yourself completely. Respect the new culture but don't forget who you are and what your culture is!