How to Ease Culture Shock When Studying Abroad
Prepare for New Cultures When Studying Abroad
Jetting off to a foreign country when studying abroad while living with a host family is bound to be the adventure of a lifetime. And it's made much easier when you find a host family that can show you the ropes and keep you from making dangerous blunders. But you're still bound to experience a measure of culture shock associated with being a stranger in a strange land. So you may want to take some steps to prepare and ease your transition into a new culture. Here are some strategies to try.
Before you even begin to engage in the host family screening process, it's a good idea to read up on the culture of the country you're planning to visit. This could include learning social customs like greetings and how to behave while dining. Or you might want to study the rules of the road. You should also learn a little bit about their system of government, important laws, social mores, and perhaps even widely celebrated holidays. And of course, you should become fluent in the language before you start seeking a family that is interested in hosting a foreign exchange student.
Of course, you'll get a much broader social and cultural education once you arrive, and you'll find that most host families specially AmeriStudent homestays are more than willing to help you out by teaching you what they can and correcting any mistakes you make. The trick here is to roll with the punches. You are bound to make errors based on your own cultural background and you needn't be embarrassed. If someone is offended, simply apologize, explain your situation, and ask how you can improve in the future. By and large, people are happy to help you integrate into the culture so that you can be comfortable and happy during your exchange experience.
It also helps to make friends. Many households hosting foreign students have children about the same age, so you may end up with a built-in friend from the get-go. But you can also try to make fast friends at school so that you have someone trustworthy to help you out. Your host family finder might not turn up a home that has people your age living in it, so be prepared to adopt an outgoing attitude and a willingness to approach new people. That way, you can meet new people and ease the culture shock you're sure to experience when studying abroad.