If you plan to study in a foreign country, most likely you look forward to finally reaching your destination. After all, you’ve spent so much time preparing yourself for the trip: you’ve packed and repacked, saved money, worked out a travel itinerary. It’s only natural to place so much importance on the moment of your arrival. However, you should know that there’s so more to prepare for! The journey doesn’t end once you arrive. In fact, that’s when it really begins.
Those who have studied abroad often talk about ‘culture shock’ or ‘culture fatigue,’ a process they underwent once they arrived in the host country. Often they describe it as a series of phases through which they passed during their time abroad. If you’re planning to spend quite a long time in a foreign country, consider familiarizing yourself with these phases.
Phase 1: Cultural Euphoria
You’ve just arrived in a foreign country. You’re standing outside, watching people walk by. Your luggage is at your side, and you’re far from home. You’re excited. You’re eager to explore new things, meet new people, and finally begin your studies. As you gaze about, you realize that here for your observation is an unfamiliar culture. How exciting!
Phase 2: Cultural Confrontation
But later, you finally understand that, like it or not, you are also a part of that unfamiliar culture and subject to its whims and fancies. You’re both observer and participant, and as such, you must confront this new reality. You’re no longer immune to the stresses of everyday life. In fact, you’re overwhelmed by them, because everything is so alien to you in this new land! You’re terrified, perhaps lonely, and you miss the familiar life you once had.
Phase 3: Cultural Adjustment
You seek solace in the predictability of your daily routine. You throw yourself into your studies. Maybe you explore a little further beyond your area of comfort. Time passes and you one day realize that you’ve suddenly gotten pretty good at maneuvering through this new country. Sure, you still occasionally feel like an outsider, but you’re comfortable with this label because you understand the your struggles.
Phase 4: Cultural Adaptation
By this time, others mistake you for a local, so confidently do you carry yourself into every situation. You communicate well with all kinds of people. You can spot subtle differences in the culture of your host country. More importantly, you’re attuned to how these subtle differences create new and exciting situations to experience. You eagerly explore beyond your comfort zone. You can’t get enough of this new world, and you can’t bear to leave it. Ultimately, you understand that while you have adapted quite well to the culture, there is much about it that you still don’t know understand. And you’re okay with this.
This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities. He welcomes your comments at his email Id: angelita.williams7 @gmail.com.