Adjusting to Life Abroad
Studying abroad is definitely a priceless experience filled with many bright moments. However, you have to prepare if you want your time abroad to be an awesome experience. Contact with a different environment can bring trouble or conflict caused by misunderstanding the new culture. Feelings that your way of life, behavior, and perceptions are different or even wrong for people from other countries give rise to culture shock.
Do not worry; culture shock is something you can overcome. Each culture has its own values and peculiarities. Understanding and accepting these values is a key to coping with culture shock and adjusting to the new environment painlessly.
Some useful advice how to overcome culture shock:
- Keep an open mind
- Stay in contact with your family and friends, especially when you feel sad and lonely
- Do not forget about your hobbies and try to find new interesting things to do
- Make new friends
- Be willing to try and learn new things
- Get involved in sports
If you feel that you cannot cope with certain cultural troubles on your own, do not feel ashamed to ask for professional help – make an appointment with a psychological counsellor at your host university. Personnel who serve there are highly experienced. They understand that international students often have difficulties adjusting to a new environment: acclimatization, homesickness, etc. and can be in urgent need of professional help.
Behaviour in Emergency Situations
1. DO NOT PANIC! Remember that when you go abroad you are going to a new unfamiliar place – a foreign country with a different climate, different norms of behaviour in public places, different food, special requirements for dress and appearance, and different work schedule for organizations. This is why you should learn about the country you plan to visit in advance, which will help you prepare for the trip smartly and take all the necessary things with you.
2. You are highly recommended to carry the contact number of your country’s Embassy with you while you are travelling.
3. Upon arriving in your host university, you are advised to register with your country’s Embassy.
4. Detailed instructions on what to do in emergencies can be found on the website of the Ministry of International Affairs of your home country.
5. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, immediately inform:
- Coordinators at your host university
- Your country’s Embassy
- Your family
- Coordinators at your home university