It’s natural to feel alienated in another country once your honeymoon period is over. From missing friends and family to yearning for home-cooked meals, anything can trigger feelings of nostalgia within you. After all, nobody tells you amidst all your preparations for studying in a new country to prepare for the culture shock. Don’t worry though. Adjustment takes time, and all you need are some handy tips to overcome culture shock. So let’s dive in.
Start with Acceptance
Start by accepting the fact that there is nothing wrong with how you feel. Every international student feels culturally shocked at some point. Understand that it’s normal and it’s okay to have feelings of confusion and frustration.
Given the drastic change in language, the way of living, and even the weather, anyone can get paranoid. Top it up with an entirely different education system, differing methodologies, and scoring patterns, things can seem really out of hand. However, you must realize that you’ll get the hang of things soon.
Camping is a super fun way to connect with nature and breathe away all your anxieties and stress into the open air. You get to see the blue sky and the great white stars away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It also gives you a chance to unwind, take in the fresh air, and just be more physical.
If you’re not very confident about going camping solo, join a nearby campsite. This also allows you to connect with natives and people from other cultures at campgrounds. You may even ask other expats to join you on this adventure.
Reserving a campground is easy. For instance, if you’re looking for a campsite in Houston, just Google something like “Reserve campgrounds near Houston” or “Campgrounds in Houston,” and you’ll get many options. Explore a few of them and join one that fits your budget and unique needs.
The next thing you need to do is communicate with others around you. There must be other expats with whom you can share your feelings. Ask what works for them, and how they are learning to cope with the change.
You can also keep in touch with friends and family back home who can motivate you to keep going. Lastly, develop new friendships with other locals around you to understand their culture and adjust to their values and norms.
Attend Social and Cultural Events
Your institution will probably be hosting a lot of social and cultural events. Make sure to participate in these events and just be there to have some fun. Attending such events can be a great learning experience as you get to network with new people around you.
Moreover, try to volunteer. Volunteering will allow you to interact with others, strike new friendships, and also have fun. Having a lot of people to talk to can help you adjust to the new culture and even help with aspects such as academics and language.
Embrace Local Cuisine
Although you may be longing for some of your home country’s dishes, it doesn’t hurt to try the local dishes around you. Explore what the locals like to eat and give it a try. Embracing local foods—the spices and flavors—is a great way to know about the new culture.
Moreover, you may also explore restaurants that offer your home country’s cuisines. You can go to these places on days you really miss home. Even better, get some new friends around to try out what you love the most.
Learn the Local Language
Another way to connect with the new culture and make yourself more at your new home is through language. Try to learn how they greet, pick up on basic phrases, and learn how to order your favorite food.
Languages help you get familiarized with culture and therefore, you must make an effort to do so. On the plus side, knowing the host country’s language also gives you the confidence to interact with locals. Make friendships that will last a lifetime.
Indulge in Hobbies
What were your hobbies before you moved to the new country? Did you enjoy cooking, working out, or gardening? Whatever it may be, start to pursue these things again. Your university might even be offering some club that you can be a part of to enjoy your hobbies.
Who knows? You might befriend a whole gang that loves to do what you do. Joining these clubs can help you strike old chords and make new friendships along the way.
Seek Professional Help
Lastly, do not hesitate to seek help when things seem to get out of hand. Ask for help from advisors, counselors, and even professors when you are feeling distressed. A lot of universities and colleges have professional counselors who can help students with such challenges. Remember, culture shock is normal, and tackling these issues can help ease the transition.