5 Ways to Deal with Culture Shock
Have you ever experienced that unsettling feeling, when your bubbling excitement suddenly fades into a pit of anxiety? You’re surrounded by unfamiliar territory and you’re completely overwhelmed? That’s culture shock.
Travelling to a new country means experiencing a new culture; meeting new people and experiencing a different way of life is the essence of travel, but sometimes the difference can be shocking, especially if you’re used to a particular lifestyle.
Unfortunately, there’s no universal “fix” to culture shock, but there are a few ways you can prepare if you are going to travel, work, volunteer or study abroad which will help you deal with the feeling of culture shock.
1. Research the Destination
If you’re travelling to a particular country for the first time, it’s so important to research the history and culture of the country. It’s even more important to ensure your information is reliable! Usually people are only exposed to an exaggerated stereotype of a country which can distort perceptions and heighten your culture shock.
A good place to start is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office “Travel Aware” webpage which details everything you need to know about the laws and customs of every country in the world. If you know the facts, you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect.
2. Learn the Local Language
It’s a scary feeling when you’re in a country where no one speaks the same language as you; you can’t understand other people and they can’t understand you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You might not have time to master advanced Japanese or Spanish in a week, but knowing a few conversational phrases is a great start! Don’t be afraid to say “hi” and make some new friends. You can also book a language course abroad.
3. Find a Travel Buddy
Speaking of making friends, life is more fun when you have someone by your side! Culture shock makes you feel lonely at times but travelling with a friend can help make new surroundings feel more like home. Or if you’re going down the solo travel route, make sure you have someone you can call when you feel like you’re in need of company.
4. Watch Travel Vlogs
Not only are travel vlogs fun to watch, they also provide a unique perspective into the way of life in other countries. You can sneak a peek at all the places you plan on visiting and pick up some useful travel tips.
FunForLouis is one of the most well-known travel vloggers, having travelled to more than 30 countries around the world!
5. Be Patient
At the end of the day, no matter how much you are looking forward to your trip abroad or how much you prepare, shock is a natural reaction to new experiences. Sometimes it just takes time to get used to a new environment and that’s okay.
By Lena El-Sheikh
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