In the last blog I gave a description of culture shock when you move to a new country, and I related my personal experiences with it. I also promised that today I would tell you how I overcame it. I have decided to offer better advice as my way of overcoming culture shock involved a tremendous, I would even say gargantuan amount of alcohol. I have been asked (warned, told, ordered) to not write about that for obvious health and safety reasons, so please forget I mentioned it. Moving on..
The first thing you must remember is that Culture Shock happens to everyone who moves to a new country, and it will pass. I had to write that, but we all know that doesn’t mean anything to the person suffering at that time. My dad told me the same thing the first time I got my heart broken by an ex-girlfriend, and he was right – it did pass over time but…! (Excuse me for a moment I need some tissues I have just been reminded about the first time my heart got broken and the stupid advice my dad gave me)
Socializing is the surest way to overcome this. Being with other foreign students is not only a great way to practice your English but a chance to make friends (or more) from other parts of the world. The cool thing is these friends will not only drag you out of your depression they will become like family. The friendships you forge overseas with people in a similar situation to yourself will become some of the strongest longest relationships you have. Soon you are going places, planning get togethers, cooking food, helping each other with your studies and you without realizing you have adapted to your new country.
People have told me that Exercising is very helpful. I am not familiar with exercise but apparently it helps relieve stress. Joining a gym or a sports team is also a great way to meet new people and start that ‘socializing’ that I mentioned. In fact, it worked wonders for me. When I was alone suffering from culture shock I would plan long walks with a destination as a goal in mind: a three or four hour walk to a temple, or a bar, or a movie, or a bar, or a museum, or a bar or a shopping mall or a bar! Not only did the exercise make me feel better but it was a great way to explore my new country, at least I think it was after all those bars! I’m sorry I must go now. I want to see if I still have the number of my ex-girlfriend!
The most important thing is to always remind yourself why you came to your new home and what your goals are. The blues will leave… eventually.
As always, this article might contain unfamiliar words and phrases. Try to look them up and use them in a sentence.