While you're abroad, there are still a few things you need to take into consideration such as your own health and safety, different travel resources, and cultural adjustment. Use these links to learn more about being in another country.Click here to hear about what past study abroad students have to say about culture shock and arriving in their host country.
Before heading abroad on your grand adventure, it is important to take cultural adjustment into consideration. Most likely, you will encounter cultural differences no matter where you go in the world, even if it is an English speaking country. Below is a short list of questions to consider as you begin to prepare for your trip abroad.
- What languages are spoken?
- What is the predominant religion and how does religion play into the day-to-day life of the people?
- What things are taboo in this society?
- What is the usual dress for men and women?
- What is the relationship between this country and the United States?
It helps to be aware of the following phases of cultural adjustment before you leave. You can then prepare yourself for dealing with the feelings and reactions you experience throughout the study abroad process.
- Pre-Departure (excitement and anxiety)
- Honeymoon (excitement about the wonderful new place you are visiting)
- Increasing participation phase (coping with the reality of differences)
- Crisis Phase (homesickness and negative feelings)
- Adaptation Phase (feeling comfortable and "at home" in your host culture)
- Re-Entry Phase (returning home and repeating the cycle of adjustment)
Each student has their own way of getting around culture shock and cultural adjustment. Remember, everyone feels a bit out of place when they are alone in a new country, experiencing new things, but that's all part of the adventure.