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How To Overcome Culture Shock


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Are you moving abroad to complete your education? Does the thought of adjusting to a new culture freak you out? 

If not, you’re a lucky person, because not everyone enjoys this luxury. Moving out to a different country is overwhelming. Whether it’s for a job, studies, marriage, or anything, culture shock is a real thing.

But, what is culture shock? The roller coaster of emotions you experience while adjusting to the culture of a new country is known as culture shock. It begins with the excitement of exploring a new country and ultimately ends with confusion.

But, don’t worry! Culture shock is a natural phenomenon. Most students who study abroad in international universities experience culture shock. It all happens when we’re trying to adjust to the new ways of life. 

And, this reminds me of the time when I moved out to Japan to pursue Economics and Business. Honestly, you can only overcome culture shock by developing meaningful relationships with people around you, rather than giving into anxiety and confusion

Here’s my advice on how to overcome culture shock:

#1 Educate yourself about your host country: If you’re too overwhelmed with the new environment, I suggest learning about the culture of the host country. Read books, magazines, travel forums, or travel blogs. You can even watch videos on YouTube, and travel vlogs to understand the culture better. 

#2 Keep an open mind: During my stay in Japan, one thing that I learned was to be open-minded, and that’s what I’d suggest to you. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the food, people, dress, or anything, just go for it because too many surprises await you. It is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of adventure, so make the most of it. Because honestly, that’s what it is. 

#3 Make friends with people around you: You’re not alone going through a culture shock. There are many people who are in the same boat as you. Identify them and develop friendships with them. You’re going to spend a few years in the university and so make them adventurous. Alongside a friend, you can better overcome a culture shock. 

#4 Patience, my dear friend: Know that no matter how hard you try, adjusting to a new culture will definitely take some time. The best you can do is make patience your best friend. Everything might seem like a herculean task. But, with patience, you’ll overcome it. And in the end, everything will be worth it. 

Have you ever had to overcome culture shock? What steps helped you get through it? 

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I have a friend who started doing a lot of traveling (prior to COVID) and she said that when she would go to a new place, the culture shock would actually induce panic attacks. She had to start researching things and preparing herself before visiting other countries and places she had never been and it helped a lot.

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