Homesickness and Culture Shock

As a result, navigation of surroundings gets easier, friends are made, and everything becomes more comfortable. Culture shock refers to feelings of uncertainty, confusion, or anxiety that people may experience when moving to a new country or experiencing a new culture or surroundings. This cultural adjustment is normal and is the result of being in an unfamiliar environment. Culture shock and being homesick is normal – all students experience a period of adjustment during the first weeks and months of school. Be patient with yourself and understand that it is a process. You will be excited and intrigued about cultural differences, but there will also be times where you are frustrated or confused.

In the United States, I attend Clemson University, which is about 13 hours away from my home, so I know what it’s like to not see your family for an extended period of time. However, living somewhere with a new language, traditions, and customs is still a new experience. Many students never experience culture shock to any appreciable extent and perform their overseas tasks and manage their relationships just fine. The honeymoon stage typically happens in the beginning of the school year. It’s that feeling of excitement mixed with nervousness that comes with new possibilities. Campus activities, meeting new people and exploring the area may keep one engaged for a while, but then the culture shock sets in. Culture shock isn’t strictly for those traveling long distances.

  • And that’s a key sign to me of not being self aware.
  • You’re unsure of the customs, and you don’t speak the language well.
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  • So I’m here and I’m doing that and it’s perfect.

The good news, though, is that there are several strategies to diminish the severity and manage the symptoms. Staying connected with family members and friends back in your home country is easier than ever thanks to video calls, messaging apps, and social media. This can be a big help to feel connected back home.

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That means juice, by the way, you think they would at least understand what they mean? And they act like, I have no idea what you’re saying. And then they would like to translate it into Sumo for you and like, make you feel like less than, and it’s so ridiculous.

What is Homesickness and How Does it Affect College Students?

I think traveling for several months and staying abroad for several months are two very different things. When I am traveling for months , the discovery momentum lasts and I don’t really feel homesick.

Any added feelings of panic or fear related to the international war against terrorism can directly affect how well a student deals with culture shock. If you feel worldwide concerns are adding to your culture shock, seek out family, friends, or program staff/counselors with whom you feel comfortable discussing your concerns. Culture shock can occur when people move to another city or country, such as when retiring abroad. Culture shock can also occur when people go on vacation, travel in retirement or for business, or study abroad for school. In this section, you will learn what culture shock means and how you can overcome its effects. Experiencing new cultures, and obtaining a better understanding of your own culture, can result in some of the most positive, life–altering experiences students have while studying abroad.

These kind of frustrations are likely to solve themselves as you become more knowledgeable and competent in the new culture. It can occur soon after arrival or within a few weeks. Not every student feels the same way, however. Jasminemarie Mack, a Howard University junior psychology major and painting minor from Denver, Colorado, has never felt homesick on campus and was incredibly excited to move out.

She recognized that she isn’t the only one who has felt homesick and that other Howard students have had similar experiences. Communicating with people in the local language will help you gain confidence, understand the culture and feel connected to those around you. Culture shock can be discouraging, but remember that you are not alone. Here are some tips for coping with culture shock.

Luckily, technology makes it easy to keep in touch with your new friends via email, Skype, Facebook, etc. It may help to seek out and befriend people at home who are from your host country. Although swedish culture dating the timing of each person’s adjustment process can be different, there are specific phases that most people go through before they adjust to their new environment. Culture shock can be quite stressful and lead to anxiety. However, it’s possible to overcome it and grow as a result.

During Ash’s time on campus, she made sure to do things that helped alleviate her homesickness, like reaching out to her extended family in the D.C. Area and keeping in contact with her close family back in Alabama. Although staying connected with her extended family helped her feel less alone on campus, she still longed for the personal connection and familiarity she had with her parents and siblings back home. There is no one definitive college experience.

I think the difference was that in my mind I knew Tokyo wasn’t just a trip. This was my new home, and these loud sounds, intense smells, and bright lights were something I was going to have to deal with every day. I think that’s the difference and maybe where homesickness starts to sink in. After some time (usually one-third to one-half way through an experience), you become less excited about your host environment and become confused and frustrated. You believe you will never learn the language, the culture doesn’t’t make sense, you’re discouraged, and as an international student, your family will not be here to support you so you become homesick. As such, this is the most difficult stage of adjustment.

John, who is currently studying abroad in London, is familiar with leaving the country for extended periods of time. Having already studied in Amsterdam and heading to Japan in just two weeks, her passion for travel is evident, but the lingering feelings of homesickness never seem to fully go away. Even after being in Amsterdam for about four months, John went through bouts of depression for two weeks after she arrived in London. Frustration may be the most difficult stage of culture shock and is probably familiar to anyone who has lived abroad or who travels frequently. At this stage, the fatigue of not understanding gestures, signs and the language sets in and miscommunications may be happening frequently. Small things — losing keys, missing the bus or not being able easily order food in a restaurant — may trigger frustration. And while frustration comes and goes, it’s a natural reaction for people spending extended time in new countries.