5 Steps to Study Abroad Success
Step 5 Get Ready
Adapting to New Surroundings
Coping with Culture ShockThe most effective way to cope with culture shock is to step back from a given event that has bothered you, assess it, and search for an appropriate explanation and response.
Try the following:
1. Observe how others are acting in the same situation
2. Describe the situation, what it means to you, and your response to it
3. Ask a local resident or someone with extensive experience how they would have handled the situation and what it means in the host culture
4. Plan how you might act in this or similar situations in the future
5. Test the new behavior and evaluate how well it works
6. Decide how you can apply what you have learned the next time you find yourself in a similar situation
Throughout the period of cultural adaptation, take good care of yourself. Read a book or rent a movie in your native language, take a short trip if possible, exercise and get plenty of rest, write a letter or telephone home, eat good food, and do things you enjoy with friends. Also, take special notice of things you enjoy about living in the host culture.
Although it can be disconcerting and a little scary, the shock gradually eases as you begin to understand the new culture. It is useful to realize that often the reactions and perceptions of others toward youand you toward themare not personal evaluations but are based on a clash of cultural values. The more skilled you become in recognizing how and when cultural values and behaviors are likely to come in conflict, the easier it becomes to make adjustments that can help you avoid serious difficulties.