Most of the students are very confident and enthusiastic about their studies abroad. They feel it is going to be a new world and new beginning. They also have curiosity regarding the place, the university, the culture, the people, the climate and how are they going to adapt to everything. So a dilemma exists between the excitement and the nervousness ! Well, you need to be ready with some shocks coming your way.
There are four phases of culture shock, and being aware of them can help you better cope up !
Phase 1 : The Honeymoon Phase
The name says it all. This stage usually lasts for around 3 months, during which everything is fresh and wonderful. Everything about the new country seems charming and attractive and you sort of, fall for the enchanting new world. But then, comes the next stage.
Phase 2 : The Depression Phase
This phase can come suddenly without you realising about it ! The feel good factor of honeymoon phase seems to be going away. You feel confused and isolated and you miss your friends and family. During this stage, many different feelings may arise, like moodiness, confusion, anxiety, homesickness, anger and loneliness. You may feel overwhelmed, unsure of yourself, or less confident than you did at home. This phase can last from 1 to 6 months depending on the person. But don’t worry, every phase comes to an end…and gives way to a new phase !
Phase 3 : The Adaption Phase
In this phase, things get better as you move towards acceptance and adjustment. You start to adjust to the world around you. It gets into your routine. You have made new friends so you don’t feel isolated anymore and you are ready to face new challenges that come your way.
Phase 4 : Acceptance
As they say, Acceptance is bliss !! This is the stage where you finally feel normal again and you embrace the new culture. You feel comfortable, confident and may be even like being a part of the community. You understand and appreciate the differences and similarities of both your own and this new culture. Best of all, you start to feel like a home away from home.
The phases of culture shock are totally normal and happen to most people who opt for foreign education or study abroad.
The best way to deal with culture shock is to stay connected to your friends and family at home, while not being afraid to create new connections in your destination country. Join a university club on campus that interests you, get involved in an expat group to meet others in the same boat, or join a gym or sports team.
Like traditional mentality of Indian students, do not restrict yourself to a group of Indian students only. Explore the networking opportunities at the best. It has been observed that everyone in this world enjoys other cultures and traditions. So get out of your cocoon and behave like a true international student.
Keep in mind that you can’t avoid the hurdles on your way, but you can make the journey smoother !