5 Steps to Study Abroad Success
Step 5 Get Ready
Adapting to New Surroundings
Know What to ExpectThe more information you know about studying abroad and your host country, the easier it will be to anticipate future events and develop strategies to successfully adjust to life abroad.
1. Try to maintain relationships with people at home while you are away by keeping in touch regularly. This assures people that you continue to care about them. Planning to stay in touch does not require a promise to write or telephone on a strict schedule, but it does help to establish a realistic interval between communications. You will be extremely busy getting settled and learning about your new environment, so it is essential that long periods between communications do not alarm your family and friends at home.
2. Once you arrive, locate a library that carries newspapers from your country. Find out how to access the cable television network that broadcasts world and local news about your country or region. Use the Internet's news groups and World Wide Web for updated information about your home country.
3. Surprises always await you when you arrive in a new place. People may walk and talk more quickly, traffic patterns may be confusing, and buildings may look different than expected. Such differences are easy to see and quickly learned. If something seems strange or very confusing, the international student office is often the best place to go for help with such matters.
4. Studying abroad means making big changes in your daily life. Generations of students have found that they go through a series of stages as they adjust to living abroad.
5. At first, although the new situation may be confusing, most students also find it to be exhilarating, a time of new experiences, sights, sounds, and activities. With so much to learn and absorbing the new culture, the initial period of settling in often seems like an adventure. During this time, you will tend to look for and identify similarities between your home culture and your host culture. You will find that people really are friendly and helpful. The procedures are different, but there are patterns, things that you can learn when depend on. You may classify other aspects of the culture that seem unusual or even unattractive as curious, interesting, or quaint. There will be many opportunities to meet people in the community; such opportunities can be rewarding, but they also present an expanded array of cultural puzzles.
6. Your cultural comfort level will vary over time as you move in and out of your home culture.