Facing culture shock whilst studying abroad

How to feel at home when facing culture shock on your year abroad? 

Before you go on your year abroad it is safe to say that you may encounter some form of "culture shock" at some point during your stay. So here I have prepared a small guide on how to navigate culture shock that would've come in handy before I set off to study abroad.

So first of all, what is culture shock?

Culture shock is the process of feeling lost or disorientated in a new environment due to a new way of life or unfamiliar customs.

When you arrive at your new destination abroad you may be thrown off by how different day to day aspects of life are simply by the smallest things. It could literally even come down to how the locals drink their morning coffee.

If you hadn’t anticipated that the culture in the country you are studying in may be foreign to you then you could be in for a surprise when you arrive.

What are the causes of culture shock?

Well…. evidently if both your mind and body perceive its environment as unfamiliar it makes total sense that perhaps you will feel a little confused.

Culture shock may be inevitable but ideally, you will have researched the country you will be studying in before you arrive to make the settling in process easier.

But I mean... even after watching hundreds of vlogs, let’s be real, you may still be shocked by the local culture when you travel abroad because you need to live it to believe it.

When will I be able to call abroad "my home"?

Honestly, you just need time. The settling in process differs from person to person. So don’t compare your situation to anyone else's.

When I said you just need time, I meant it. Once you become familiar with your new surroundings your day to day becomes routine. You will start to recognise the people you see and the places you visit and you may even become one of those regulars at your local.

Some tips for easing homesickness:

  • Take lots of goodies from your motherland with you because when abroad they may well not have your favourite biscuits or that delicious Tesco mackerel.

  • Get to know the lingo and the greetings beforehand. It avoids the mistake of kissing a stranger on the mouth because you have no clue whether in Spain they greet each other with 2 or 3 kisses on the cheek.

  • Why not take your comforts with you? Those favourite socks, your animal pyjamas or simply your cute family photographs.

Items that you recognise can make an unfamiliar setting feel like home.

Do you have any tips on how to feel at home when facing culture shock on your year abroad?

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