Have you ever been in a situation whereby you did not feel accepted or happy in a place you thought you would be comfortable with? The experience of feeling anxious and confused because you are in an unfamiliar environment is culture shock. Here are some helpful tips to overcome this and make the most out of your experience in a foreign place or country.
1. Do Your Homework
Before you travel, try to learn about the people, their culture, entertainment and tourist spots. Despite this leading to you forming some funny stereotypes about the locals, it goes a long way in making sure you do not entirely feel like a stranger. If it is possible, try to communicate with a friend from the location or country and ask lots of questions to ensure you get an understanding of the area.
2. Learn The Language
Being able to do basic things like order food or use public transportation requires you to learn how to speak the language of your chosen country. This makes you feel more comfortable around the locals because you capable of communicating to them in a language that is part of their culture. They will definitely appreciate the effort you put into learning their language, making it easier to live with them.
3. Attend Public/Community Events
Go to a football match or festival being hosted in the area. This will allow you see and experience the authenticity of the local culture firsthand, therefore making it easier to appreciate and embrace its differences and similarities from your own culture. This ultimately makes it easier to adapt quickly to the new environment. If it’s a carnival buy a costume and dance with the rest of the parade, it all about getting out of your comfort zone.
4. Join A Club
As soon as you arrive try to find out if there are any clubs within the city that practice some of your hobbies for example a local theatre company or a dance studio. It allows you to meet new people with shared interests, making it easier to make new friends. Having people you like around you helps to get over homesickness.
5. Talk About It
Many get depressed and stressed out because of their inability to adapt to a new environment. Call back home, talk to your parents, siblings or friends. They will all have some great advice on how you can begin coping and eventually love your new locality. This also helps to curb an anxiety you might be feeling because as you hear familiar voices.
This article was written by Meryl Omondi.She is a member of AISEC UON Chapter.
To learn more about AISEC visit their website here.