Combat Cultural Shock- We all know that studying abroad is not a cakewalk. Apart from grilling visa protocol sessions to the huge piles of all sorts of documents needed to furnish your paperwork or even your occasional dent in the bank account all seems fair if it ends well i.e. you gaining the entry to your cherished land and pursuing your dream program. But what if, things don’t pan out the way you thought and are in for some rude shocks which hits you hard in a foreign land.
In times like these, you need to brace yourselves and render yourself mentally strong as well as make informed well-thought decisions instead of working on impulses. The most common phenomenon faced by students under the garb of cultural shock is the usual way of life as practiced in the foreign land. Best Advice: Understand, Accept and Move on!
What is a Combat Cultural Shock?
When one gets removed from the familiar landscapes of one’s surrounding and tries hard to adjust to a life of the foreign land, it gives rise to initial jitters related to loss of family ties, confusion regarding basic laws and general rules and regulations as well as being the odd one out in an alienated land which ultimately leads to a build- up of stress and anxiety in an individual.
Here are some pearls of wisdom to help you combat cultural shock while preparing to go there.
- Research- Yes, you need to do a thorough research of the place and try and go into all possible details of the place which might be relevant to you. It really wouldn’t help if you have let’s say , a breathing problem (asthma) and shift to a city with the highest SPM content in the world in order to pursue a course. General knowledge regarding the weather/climate, rules and regulations of the land and the host’s native culture and traditions goes a long way in forging your ties stronger with the land of your choice.
- Find your culture buddy- Owing to globalization, there are very bright chances of someone from your own native homeland to have also studied in your desired land. While it’s good to interact with people who have been alumni of the desired institute, making ties with people who are currently studying there. This keeps you in check with the current know-how of your institute , and the country as a whole as feeds into your curiosity related to your course, student interactions , faculty and general fads etc. so that you don’t feel cut out from the crowd.
- Cultural Integration- Sometimes it’s best to be lost in the crowd and observe the people from a distance to better understand them. Remember, you are not the only one from a certain land to the current one. There must be several like you from different faiths, backgrounds and cultures studying in the same university as you. Intermix and interact with them as it provides for super Cultural integration. Be inviting, warm and open-minded in your dealings with others and stay out of conflict or a conflict zone in if any in the area. These relations will help you form a global connection in the long-run.
- Be in touch with family- Stay always connected to your family so they could provide you the emotional support which you might need from time to time. Involve them with your academic calendar and your day to day routine so they could draw a rough idea about your whereabouts, your close friends and your usual hangouts. This also helps a great deal in ascertaining your status if any untoward incident is to happen to you. It will also help you fight over depression which is most common among migrant students. Inform your folks about any cases related to racial discrimination, bullying or any such activity related to discomfort.
- Engage in activities- Keep yourself always engaged in activities which could relate to the greater good of the society. You could work as part of a voluntary group for elderlies or any animal shelter or any other community work to help you come in good books of the people in general and soothe your mind. You could also maintain a journal, or a blog to share your day to day insights on life, culture, places you fancy be its arts or entertainment which could help shed light for the new prospective students or influx of tourists as your views will not be tainted by prejudices.
Having said that amidst all this, don’t forget to enjoy yourself and give yourself some time to sync with the pulse of the place. The process might be gradual but you’ll eventually get there!