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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.


So it’s been a few weeks since I’ve first landed here in China and I’m pleased to say that I have more or less adjusted beautifully. I didn’t experience any culture shock even though I may be a Chinese who can’t speak the language. But there are a few things that could cause culture shock.

  1. Squatty Potties

You hardly see them around the U.S. but here in China you’re lucky if you find a ‘normal’ toilet. For guys it’s no issue but for gals it can take some getting use to. The area isn’t always sanitary and sometimes there isn’t even toilet paper. Going from clean, heated toilets with however many ply toilet paper to these squatty potties is enough to cause an aneurism. Maybe the best option is just to go before you leave your home. Or… you can take a deep breath and embrace the culture.

  1. Food

Although you can stop by a McDonalds or KFC for your daily dose of American food, you’ll be mainly eating rice or noodles here in China and the addictive dishes that people call street food. Salads are hard to find and so are traditional American sandwiches and burgers. For junior Kallie Yearick of Iowa State University, everything she ate in the U.S. is difficult to find here in China.

  1. It’s a free-for-all on the road

You’ll quickly figure out that Chinese people do what they want on the roads. Drivers rarely stop and will instead simply slow down and sometimes they won’t even do that. So you definitely have to be careful while walking on the streets. This can be a huge culture shock for those who live in small towns and are used to walk in the middle of the streets. But give it some time and before you know it, you’ll be owning that road.

  1. Language

It’s no shock that language will be a culture shock for those who can hardly communicate with the locals. Here in China especially the language is very difficult to pick up and can be frustrating. When you can’t speak a word of the local language it can make you feel lost and alone. But it’s a part of the studying abroad process and don’t worry, by the time you leave that country you’ll no longer be floundering.

Culture shock can happen to anyone and can happen at any time. And depending on where you’re studying, you will experience different forms of culture shock. There’s nothing you can do it but don’t worry. Experiencing culture shock doesn’t make you strange or weird. It’s quite expected. Just put a smile on and embrace the new culture