GUIDE FOR CULTURAL ADAPTION FOR
STUDY ABROAD STUDENTS!
Along with global exposure, a foreign degree and scope of career growth, shifting to a new country also brings along with settling amongst people from different walks of life in a new country with a different culture altogether. Coming from a distinctive background and values, Indian students especially get a culture shock, especially when they shift to Western countries.
But, we have a few strategies in hand, which would definitely help you in adapting to the new environment and would make you comfortable in no time!
Accept things, how you see them. There may be parts of a culture that you might not like or disapprove of, but you ought to broaden your horizons and respect the values of other cultures. Ultimately, it makes a part of the bigger social system. If you are stuck in an unfamiliar situation, try to think of it as an adventure. Be curious about the way things are perceived and done in this new environment.
Being anxious is okay
Shifting to a new country would obviously come with a lot of anxiety. From new people to a new culture and house, you would be bound to become nervous. But do not fret! It is okay to be a little anxious. Talk to friends and family back home and soothe your jumpy mind, because the situation is new but temporary and you would be settled in, in no time!
Being a part of a different culture would make you come across unfamiliar norms and values, however, observe how others are acting in this situation and understand how you are supposed to behave. Pay attention to both verbal and non-verbal communication to get the bigger picture.
If you do not understand anything, then asking for assistance is not a sign of weakness. Moreover, asking questions would help you get out of the unfamiliar situation and would also sustain the respect towards the new culture. It is completely okay to ask your friend or colleague about the social norms and would help you adapt.
Be comfortable with yourself
Being in a new environment would for sure make you question yourself and your values. You might also feel perturbed by the difference in the cultures and values, which might make you want to ape the new culture blindly, just to blend well. However, it is okay to be different. You ought to make yourself comfortable with the fact that social systems can exist in harmony, and even though you are from a different background altogether, people would accept you for who you are. So, relax and be original!
Do not isolate yourself
It is true, do not isolate yourself! It will only become difficult for you acclimate in the new environment but would also make you withdrawn from your studies.
Similar to you, you might find people who would be new to the environment as well. You can find an ally in them and can make yourself and the other person comfortable too. Moreover, you together can explore the new country and its culture!
Find a Cultural Ally
Going to a different country does not mean that you cannot find a consultant. Your university would definitely have people belonging to the country who can act as advisers on the cultural expectations as well as clarify your confusions, as you adjust to the new environment.
Be in constant touch with Friends and Family
Apart from you, your family and friends are also bound to get concerned about your well-being. Moreover, talking to friends and family would make you feel comfortable and would help you adapt better.
Speak your heart out
Telling your friends and family about feelings would not make you vulnerable, it will only make you stronger. It is better to give voice to your feelings, rather than being drowned because of a heavy heart. You can also write about your feelings in a journal or your computer as it will enable venting out of your emotions and would give you clarity and perception.
Being in a new place and environment would for sure make you nervous and might wreck your diet. However, eating healthy and following a diet would reduce your stress level and would help you in following a routine too!
Keep your sense of humour
Often we tend to get flown with emotions, however, you ought to keep your emotions in check. Take everything in good humour and do not get disheartened. Also, it can help you in laughing at your own mistakes!
In a nutshell, be a brave heart and follow your dream course in your chosen country with ease and comfort!
For further information on cultural adaptation, you can visit us at our office at Jitin Chawla’s Centre for Career Development anytime, any day!