Congratulations! You’ve just arrived in your new place of study, you’re super excited to get started in a new country and get your university degree underway. But sometimes, moving abroad to study can become a bit of a whirlwind, from the sights, sounds, traffic, and accents to familiarise yourself with, it can all become a bit much.
Take a look at our top tips to help you through the transition of living abroad.
What is Culture Shock?
Culture shock is a mixture of feeling loss, confusion, stress and anxiety and overall just feeling overwhelmed by the challenge of dealing with new cultural surroundings when away from a familiar cultural environment.
The Stages of Culture Shock
1.The Honeymoon Stage
The idea of moving to a new country can be so exciting. You might feel slightly anxious once you arrive but the adrenalin will take over. The trip can feel like the greatest decision you’ve made.
2. The Frustration Stage
The hardest stage for many is feeling frustrated. You can feel annoyed, like no one understands you. You might also suffer from homesickness and bouts of feeling like you want to go home. This can happen as little as a week or as long as several months after you have moved in. Things that you enjoyed in the first week can start to get on your nerves. Maybe feeling misunderstood and confusion in communication can start to frustrate you.
3.The Adjustment Stage
You’ve gotten through the first few months, be proud of yourself! You’ll be adapting to the new culture, language and navigation around the city will become a lot easier as you start to settle down.
4. The Acceptance Stage
You’ve settled, you’ve developed a routine and feel comfortable in your surroundings. It might take you a while to reach this stage, that is nothing to be concerned about. Once you hit this stage you should feel at ease with what’s around you.
How to Cope with Culture Shock
-Bring items with you that are familiar. This could be pictures of family and friends or anything else that reminds you of home.
-Keep in touch with family and friends, whether through Whatsapp, Skype or even through letters posted home. It can really make a difference having a chat with someone you’re close to and listening to their perspective on any stresses you might have.
– If you’re feeling insecure, do something comforting, whether this is through speaking in your own language or eating food from home.
– Take the time to learn the language. A lot of universities provide English lessons for students before they start at University, this will also give you the chance to meet students who are new to the city.
-Build a network of new friends. If you’re a fan of sport or other activities, there are a large amount of societies at University that you can join during September. There is also some fantastic International Societies around the city that can help you out whenever you are feeling unsettled.
-And finally, don’t sit in your room and feel worried about anything! Remember you aren’t alone and the dwell team are always around for a talk and a cup of tea.
Take a look at our blog on Support at University for more advice.