Why Culture Shock Can Be Good For You
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Yes, you read that right. Culture shock can be good for you.
Studying abroad is a great opportunity to learn and explore beyond the four corners of a classroom, literally and figuratively. It’s a big decision filled with excitement, uncertainties, and you guessed it, culture shock moments! Think of it like that feeling you had on the first day of classes in a new school with new faces and a new environment. Can you imagine it?
This state of “shock” or feeling of disorientation happens when things are unfamiliar from the ones you’re used to. Don’t worry! While culture shock is an inevitable part of your trip, there are also advantages to it. Here are seven reasons why culture shock can be good for you, too!
1. It breaks you out of routine.
If you’re looking to shake up your same ol’ schedule, then culture shock can help. As you settle in your host country, you’ll find yourself making mental adjustments to your daily grind. While this means letting go of old habits, it’s also a good time to make room for new ones. Maybe squeeze in a morning run before class?
2. It drives you out of your comfort zone.
Once you arrive in your host country, it’ll be a ~whole new world~ for you. Which is both exciting and scary. Exciting that you get to experience new things, and scary that… well, you get to experience new things. It works both ways!
Don’t miss out on opportunities just because it feels different. Remember, growth happens beyond your comfort zone. Try new things. Make friends with locals and fellow foreign students. Go ahead and explore!
3. It forces you to learn a new language.
If only learning a new language is as easy as downloading a mobile app, we’d all be polyglots by now. But it’s not, and language barriers are real!
While it’s best practice to learn some local words and phrases before studying abroad, you don’t have to worry about learning the mother tongue anymore (or at least, familiarizing yourself with it) because you’ll hear it 24/7 once you arrive in your host country. That means picking up new words anytime, anywhere!
P.S. We made a list of phrases you can learn for your study abroad adventure. Check it out!
4. It challenges you to meet new people.
It’s a no-brainer. You’ll meet a gazillion new people when you study abroad. (If you’re an introvert, this guide is for you.) But the challenge is meeting new people you aren’t likely to connect with at home. For reals. This includes people at school, in your neighborhood, at the market, even on the streets.
When you’re new (and lost) in a foreign country, you’ll be thankful culture shock can bring out the friendly in you. Imagine all the interesting conversations you’ll have with these people. Better start working on your small talk!
5. It helps you to rediscover yourself.
Last but not least, experiencing culture shock allows you to learn new things about yourself! When do you feel at your best? What’s the biggest risk you can take? How do you see yourself five years from now? (This is the part where you go through your existential questions.)
As you immerse yourself in a different culture, you’ll start to gain a better understanding of other perspectives, and evaluate your own values and beliefs. Who knows, even find an advocacy you feel strongly about!
There’s no all-in guide to avoid culture shock when you study abroad. What there is, however, is a long list of suggestions on how you can cope with the adjustments in the best way possible (We actually wrote one over here!). So keep calm and don’t worry too much about experiencing culture shock. We’re pretty sure you’ll be fine!
Don’t forget to pack your bags with tips and advice from our Study Abroad blog section at Edukasyon.ph now!
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Tags: cultureculture shockdiversityeducationlanguage barrierlanguage learning appsstudy abroad
About the author
Angel is a storyteller who enjoys a good cup of coffee while listening to her family and friends’ everyday stories. As a Development Communication graduate, she firmly believes that communities are the birthing ground of change where real people with real stories are just waiting to be heard. She is passionate about learning, coffee, and the next generation. On her spare time, you can find her happily lost in bookstore shelves, grocery alleys, coffee shops… or taking a nap.