What is cultural shock?
Cultural shock is when someone moves to a new place where the cultural environment is different to theirs and they are feeling astray. Cultural shock tends to occur post immigration, when studying abroad or even entering a new social environment etc.
Culture shock comes up in ways you don’t expect. For instance, the culture’s food may not react with well with your body, or constantly thinking locals are trying to rip you off, or even realising how big of a problem time difference to your friends and family is.
Prepare yourself mentally
Trying to feel at home when settling into a new country can be seemingly difficult. But there are things you can do to help, not only by getting your visa, or securing a home, but by preparing yourself mentally, and familiarising yourself to the new culture prior to arriving to prevent yourself from being too shocked upon arrival. You are able to familiarise yourself by reading about the culture’s traditions and characters of the people so that you will know the do’s and don’ts. Being aware of the dos and don’ts will help you make behavioural adjustments.
It is crucial to understand that there will be miscommunications from time to time, and to remember to stay relaxed. Usually, most of the local citizens will be sympathetic as long as you are making an effort and are friendly. A good tip when it comes to misunderstandings is to be humours and just try to laugh it off and not take anything too seriously.
Coping with homesickness
As for homesickness, try to keep in touch with family and friends as frequent as you can as well as organising for trips back home so that your relationships with loved ones don’t break off. At the same time, try not to be too involved and live in the past, but make new friends by joining social groups/clubs and going to events that will allow you to engage with people.
Learning the language
The obvious barrier when moving to a new country is the language. Something to do on the long term that will benefit your settling is learning the language. Learning a new language seems overwhelming, but it becomes much easier when you attend classes regularly, surround yourself with the language (e.g. media, people) and also downloading apps that teach languages.
Moving to a new country a settling in straight away, is by no means realistic. Calling a completely new environment ‘home’ will take time and it’s important to not make any rational decisions when frustrated. A tip would be to take a few step backs and just wait it out, as cultural shock is only temporary.