Studying abroad is all about new things. Sadly, while students are prepared for how to adopt these new habits, no one gave them a good training on how to maintain their own cultural identity. This is leading to a lack of cultural values and morals among foreign students. To prevent you from being such a student, we have some tips to help you cope with cultural shock while preserving your own identity.
What it is
When you go abroad, you’ll see people doing things very differently. There will be different food, different people, and pretty much everything you were used to will seem alien here. This is a cultural shock. During the first few weeks or months, you’ll probably be so excited about these changes that you won’t even notice yourself gradually adapting to all new habits. In fact, you might even start liking the new ways more than your same old boring life.
This honeymoon period won’t last long. The excitement will start to fade and that is when the problem begins. You will start missing home. The new routine will become too hectic for you. You may feel like you’re stuck between two cultures. You will have a hard time adjusting at this point. To prevent this from happening, you need to be cautious from day one.
No matter how exciting and tempting the new culture seems to you, do not immediately try to fit in. Over time, you are definitely going to need to change yourself for your best. However, now is not that time. This is the point when you need to observe. Look around, experience the different aspects of the new place but all this while, stay true to your culture. Slowly but gradually, you will start to figure out a perfect in-between on your own. You will realize that some things that you were so attracted to in the first few days, you will start to dislike after a few weeks. This is a common feeling among foreign students. Just keep in mind that if you let the temptation drag you into what seems attractive, you’ll end up will a lot of wasted time and regrets. As a new student, that is the last thing you want!
Your identity as a foreign student is your culture. Do not lose it in the process of adjustment. Take everything in slowly without letting it overpower your originality.