For TALK students studying abroad, this promises to be one of the most exciting experiences of your life. While in another country you learn about the culture, another way of life and about yourself. Before leaving your home country you may not even think about how much it will affect your life. Although, once you have entered your host country, you may experience what many study abroad student experience, and that is culture shock! There are different stages of culture shock that students may experience after their arrival in a new country. Here are the 5 stages of culture shock that you may experience when studying abroad.
Stage 1: The Honeymoon Stage: During the honeymoon stage you are curious, positive, and anticipating new and exciting experiences. You idealize your host culture and you feel like you’re on an adventure!
Stage 2: The Crisis Phase: During the crisis phase you may become hostile, irritable, and bored. You may even find yourself criticizing local customs or the way the people around you do things. You may also become withdrawn, or experience aches and pains, homesickness and you may sleep a lot. Your feelings of loneliness and strangeness will not be helped if other students or people you encounter are ignorant about your native country, or if they display negative feelings about the country you call home. Or you may experience forms of racism, including intolerant comments about your foreign accent. You could well feel defeated during this stage.
Stage 3: The Adjustment Stage: During the adjustment stage you will become more relaxed with familiar with your surroundings. You may also begin to be more objective about the habits and beliefs of people who are different to you. Your life will feel a lot more balanced when this happens. This is a time where you will understand and accept your host culture and your negative feelings gradually turn into a positive, tolerant and more attitude.
Stage 4: The Cultural Adaption Stage: During the cultural adaption stage there will be a sense of sensitivity and belonging to your host culture. With your cultural adaption you may feel a sense of overall well being and security which can reflect on any performance levels you may have.
Stage 5: The Home Stage: During the home stage you start to feel really at home in your host country. You will be practicing new behaviors and becoming an emotionally mature person able to be more adaptable and adapted, more at ease in your new – albeit temporary – home.