Study Abroad Platform for International Students

5 Steps to Study Abroad Success

Step 5 Get Ready

Adapting to New Surroundings

Culture Shock

Culture shock is not quite as shocking or as sudden as most people expect. It is part of the process of learning a new culture that is called, "cultural adaptation." You may experience some discomfort before you are able to function well in a new setting. This discomfort is a natural stage in the adaptation process.

Just as you will bring clothes and other personal items abroad, you will also be carrying invisible cultural baggage with you. That baggage is not as obvious as the items in your suitcases, but it will play a major role in the adaptation to your new environment. Cultural baggage contains the values that are important to you and the patterns of behavior that are customary in your culture. The more you know about your personal values and how they are derived from your culture, the better prepared you will be to see and understand the cultural differences you will encounter abroad.

Remember that...

*It is normal to have some ups and downs during the period of transition to a new culture.
*Culture shock does not happen all at once. It builds up gradually.
*Everyone experiences culture shock. Looking back on the experience, many say it was a source of insight and personal growth.