Tag Archives: Stay in Touch

How to deal with Culture Shock

According to our favorite but not officially-recognized-as-a-reliable-source Wikipedia, culture shock refers to “the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown culture such as one may encounter in a foreign country.”
Indeed, some people may feel… let’s say uncomfortable after having spent some time in a foreign country. This syndrome actually really depends on the person in its intensity. Some of the people I know don’t feel it at all (also my case), but for some, it is apparently a concrete problem.
The main symptom is a boredom felt about anything (people, habits, architecture…), coupled to a will to “go back home” (sweet home…).
The main advice I could give about this disease is not to isolate yourself. Stay close to people you know, and try to get to know new people. Don’t stay passive: admit the problem, and face it! If you have moved to a foreign country, you should have good reasons, keep those in mind.
Even if you’re looking for total immersion, don’t forget to keep in touch with people who stayed in your home country, new technologies help you to do that efficiently.
Several way exist, to help you deal with Culture Shock:

  • E-mails, which are the most used way of long-distance communication.

  • Facebook, used by most of young people, is a good way to stay aware of what’s happening in your friends’ countries.

  • Msn, or windows live messenger, is efficient to have real-time written conversations.

  • Phone, even if expensive for international calls, is important. It is a good way to show to friends and family that you think about them, or to wish a happy birthday for example.

  • Skype is a useful software used by more and more people each day. It is a free way to have vocal conversations, as well as conversations through web cam. If you need to “speak” to someone who is far away from you, this might be the solution you need.

If good relationships are not enough for you in order not to regret leaving your home country, try to create, at least in your room, an atmosphere that reminds you your sweet home. Posters, presents from friends, pictures and so one help to create a friendly environment. Also check out these great tips if you really miss home a lot while being abroad and how to make the most of your stay abroad.

5 Tipps when you miss home

5 Tipps when you miss home

So, you made it. Finally you live all by yourself in a foreign country. Your dream of living abroad has finally come true. After all the research you have done, all the talks to your parents to let you go study abroad, all the savings to pay for your time abroad and now, all you want to do is go back home?

Well, first of all, let me tell you that being homesick in the beginning and sometimes during your stay abroad is perfectly normal. Most people that I know, who went abroad for an extended period of time, have experienced exactly what you are experiencing right now – homesickness. You just arrived at your dream cryingdestination and you were looking for fun, adventure, excitement, new friends and now you are hiding from the world, spending you time crying your face off. But here my promise: IT WILL GET BETTER! Everyday, you will feel less homesick enjoy your time like you had planned. Let me show you how…

1. Get out of your room

Whether you are already living in the dorm, with a host family or by yourself: Get dressed and get out of your room. Explore the university or the city  you now live in. Take in the smells and watch the people. How are they different from your home country? Take your iPod with you and listen to your favorite music and try to take in as many impressions as you can.

2. Write you parents/boyfriend/girlfriend/friends

callinghomeRather than calling, you should consider writing your family, friends or your lover back home, you should consider writing. Tell them about what you have seen during your first trip around your new premises, the people, the food, everything. The reason why I recommend writing over a phone call, is because a phone call lets you be closer to your loved ones back home and especially in the beginning, this will make it harder, not easier. Also think about writing you very personal feelings in a journal.  When you call your parents and can’t barely speak because you are crying so much, you will only worry them and while you feel better every day, they are still thinking it was the biggest mistake to let you go abroad.

3. Organize stuff

Try to keep busy and get all the things done, that need to be taken care of, such as opening a bank account, registering at the university, find out where to buy books and what the fastest way to the library is. As in most cases when you are sad, try to keep busy and try not to think about home and how much you miss your loved ones. Put the thoughts of being homesick out of your head and once you get through the first couple of days, it won’t be as hard.

4. Go out and Party

partyYes, I know, right now, you probably don’t feel like a party-animal, rock star or dancing queen. Try to connect with some other Newbies at your university and explore and have a good time. Force yourself to go out and experience the culture and the country. That is the reason why you came here in the first place, right? And I will promise you one thing: You will regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t make the most of your adventure abroad.

5. Explore, connect, explore together!!!

The more you get out there and get familiar with your new surroundings, the faster you will feel at home and comfortable. Of course, you can do that yourself, but even better, if you can connect with other people and explore together. However, it is important that you connect NOT ONLY with people from your home country or other international students. Especially in the beginning this is very hard, I understand this, but once you have your group of friends and they are all from your home country, it will be very hard to find local friends. You are addicted to coffee? Try to find a nice little coffee shop that lets you endulge your need for it and utilize your language skills to order your coffee. When this goes well, may be it encourages you to strike up a conversation with another coffee lover. Love to surf the net? Try to find a nice internet cafe, even if you have wireless in your new home. It will help you to get out of the house and be among locals.

I hope these 5 tipps help you to get over you homesickness, adjust better and get over the first hard days a little bit better. Most people feel homesick and most people also get over it in a shorter or longer period of time. Good luck for your adventure abroad. Let it begin now!

Did you like this post? Read more on how to make the most of your stay abroad!

Expat Blog Directory

living in California

The Expat-Blog is a great directory of blogs from and for expats. You can even search for your fellow countrymen and -women in your neighbourhood and read their specific advice on living in this area. This is great, especially for planning stages of going abroad and in case you do not speak the local language.

For the writers, authors and bloggers among you, the Blog Directory might be helpful to reach a wider Expat audience. Submission is easy and painless! If you don’t have your own blog or don’t know how to set one up, they offer a very user friendly internal blogging interface. Create your free Expat-Blog and start blogging today!

There is also a very helpful Expat-Forum with active members answering your questions and offering advice.

The Expat-Blog is a great resource for people living or studying abroad, or those who want to.