5 Tips to Cope with Culture Shock


ISO Customer Care | Jan 26, 2024 Student Life

Culture Shock

Culture shock is a common experience faced by individuals who move to a new and unfamiliar cultural environment. It refers to the feeling of disorientation, anxiety, or confusion that occurs when a person is suddenly exposed to a cultural practice, belief system, or social norm different from their own. This phenomenon is not limited to any specific group; it can affect anyone who steps into a new cultural setting, be it students studying abroad, employees on international assignments, immigrants, or even tourists.

Below, we have put together 5 actionable tips to overcome culture shock, and help you settle into your new home.

5 Tips to Deal with Culture Shock

1. Recognise and Accept It

The first step in dealing with culture shock is to recognize and accept it as a normal part of the adjustment process. Acknowledging that it's okay to feel out of place or overwhelmed helps in managing these feelings more constructively. This phase is characterized by emotional ups and downs, where one day might be exciting and the next, frustrating. Understanding that these swings are a natural response to the changes around you is crucial. Learn more about the different stages of culture shock here.

2. Educate Yourself

Next, it is important to educate oneself about the new culture. Learning about the social norms, values, language, and traditions of the host country can significantly reduce the sense of alienation. This step involves not just theoretical learning but also practical immersion. Engaging with locals, participating in cultural events, and trying local cuisine are ways to actively embrace the new culture.

3. Keep an Open Mind

Maintaining an open mind is another vital aspect of coping with culture shock. Being open to new experiences and perspectives can transform what initially seems strange or challenging into an opportunity for personal growth and learning. This openness also fosters adaptability, an essential skill for effectively navigating new cultural landscapes.

4. Network of Support

Additionally, finding a support network can be incredibly beneficial. Connecting with people who are undergoing similar experiences or have already adjusted to the new culture can provide valuable insights and emotional support. Sharing experiences and challenges with others can create a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.

5. Maintain Connections

Lastly, it is important to maintain a connection with one's own culture. This can be achieved by keeping in touch with family and friends from home, joining expatriate groups, or engaging in familiar activities. Balancing the new cultural experiences with familiar ones provides a sense of stability and comfort.

In conclusion, culture shock is a transitional phase that many people experience when exposed to a new culture. Dealing with it effectively involves recognizing it, educating oneself, staying open-minded, finding a support network, and maintaining a connection with one's own culture. With time and effort, what starts as culture shock can evolve into a deeply enriching and transformative experience.

Know that you are not alone! Enrolling in an ISO plan will provide coverage for different kinds of illnesses and injuries, which include mental health. For additional resources in treating mental health or dealing with culture shock, see some healthy ways to go about it here.

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5 Tips to Cope with Culture Shock

ISO Customer Care | Jan 26, 2024 Student Life

There's a lot that comes with moving to a new country, with culture shock being one of them. See some tips below to help manage it!

About ISO Student Health Insurance

Founded in 1958, ISO prides itself on being the leader in providing international students with affordable insurance plans. Administered by former and current international students, we are able to assist our member with multilingual customer service in Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, and more. ISO serves over 3,200 schools/colleges and more than 150,000 insured students every year.

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