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The Chronicles of a Collegiate Traveler: Warning: Studying Abroad May Cause Culture Shock

What is culture shock? You may ask.  

When studying abroad, it is common to experience culture shock upon first arriving. In a nutshell, culture shock is when you experience a different environment that you are not used to and your body and mind subconsciously (or consciously) reacts to it. 

To break it down even further –  leaving your home, your comfort zone, where your friends and family are, where you have your life, is tough. Especially when you enter a new country that does not have the same customs, places, and social cues.

Your mind starts to freak out and you can become extremely homesick. Your body does the same and you don’t feel hungry. The slightest difference from home may cause you to be enraged.

Culture shock is common so don’t be discouraged to study abroad!

This is Clanny House, where I live.

I experienced culture shock for the first day or two. I was homesick and thought I made a mistake going abroad. I wasn’t eating as much. And when I found out that Hulu and any other television network website wouldn’t let me watch episodes of my favorite shows I became angry and frustrated.

Granted, any new culture you enter is going to be different from what you are used to, there are ways to defeat culture shock. 

Once you go to orientation and meet your flat mates, you won’t feel as alone. Every study abroad student is feeling the same way you are.

I lucked out and have the best flat mates I could ask for. We are constantly hanging out and plan on traveling on the weekends together.

The biggest cultural difference for me was not being able to keep up with my T.V. shows, as trivial as that may sound. Even though I can’t watch them, I signed up for Netflix so that I could have access to T.V. shows and movies that I was familiar with. Making small compromises like that will help ease you out of culture shock.

Plus, once classes start swinging into full gear, your time will be more occupied.

And don’t forget to keep an open mind! Once you make friends and adjust to the differences, you’ll be as excited as ever to have this once in a lifetime experience.

Hi, I'm Shelby! I love fashion, words, and the beach. I am the Fashion and Beauty Editor for Her Campus Towson Chapter.
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