Studying Abroad: Adapting to a Whole New Culture

Studying AbroadLiving in a foreign country by yourself is panic-inducing, but eventually, you will overcome this. It will take weeks, even months, before you completely settle in. Hopefully, in the end, you will feel just as at home as you were in your home country.

Going to a new school is one thing, but in another country? That is a different story. The usual things students worry about when moving to another school include making new friends, having a new schedule to follow, and managing their workload, to name a few. But, if you are moving to another country, it becomes even more challenging because you must also adjust and adapt to your host country’s culture. You have homesickness to deal with, too.

Do not let this intimidate you, however. Below, JCU.edu.sg shares a few tips on how you can overcome this challenge. Once you do, then all you will have to worry about is passing all your subjects.

Adjusting to a New Culture

A person studying and living alone overseas faces the different stages of adjusting to a new culture.

The first stage is the initial euphoria you feel once you step out of the airport and take in your new surroundings. The whole place and the idea of living there will excite you, for sure. You will feel like the quintessential tourist on your first few days, interested in the similarities and differences of your new home to your actual home country.

The second stage is culture shock. After the euphoria wears off, you will get irritated and hostile. This is where homesickness sets in.

The last stage gradually develops in the following months. Eventually, everything – the culture, values, and logic – will be familiar to you. You will also have a deeper understanding of why things are the way they are.

Dealing With Cultural Stress

This is common for people who are new to a foreign country – and living alone, no less. You will get overwhelmed and frustrated, but it is all part of the adapting process. You do not have to deal with it alone. Keep in touch with your friends and family at home and share your experiences with them.

Cultural stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Do not let it get to you. Homesickness is common; some symptoms include isolating yourself, the urge to interact with non-locals exclusively, and perpetual fatigue, to name a few. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome it.

After a while, without even noticing it, everything will become a routine. That is when you will realise that you have finally settled in, and you are at home.