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How to deal with culture shock for an international student in a foreign country?

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How to deal with culture shock for an international student in a foreign country?

A foreign environment forces most foreign students to experience all the hardships of culture shock, which arises from differences in the norms of behavior, beliefs, customs and values of local residents instead of the positive from immersion in a foreign culture. There is an alternation of natural emotional outburst and fall, which often becomes the cause of depression. The intensity of sensations depends on individual characteristics and directly affects the adaptation time.

Adaptation stages

According to research by specialists, there are ten stages of adaptation in a foreign country:

Arrival in another country and primary anxiety

Before leaving abroad, a foreign student begins to experience a slight excitement in anticipation of new experiences. Once abroad, he gradually masters and begins to get acquainted with a foreign culture.

Primary euphoria

The first time the tourist does not cease to leave the feeling of euphoria. Then the first difficulties begin when immersing in a new environment.

Culture shock

Euphoria is quickly replaced by longing for familiar things. A comparison of the customs of one's own country with the customs of the host country begins. Then comes depression and stress, the cause of which is the presence of unusual phenomena abroad. All of this escalates into culture shock. Its main symptoms are feelings of depression and melancholy, insomnia / drowsiness, and feeling unwell.

Surface adaptation

As the student gets used to it, friends and acquaintances appear. Previously unacceptable habits and phenomena are no longer annoying or disliked.


At this stage, a person becomes more self-confident and satisfied with his position in the new society and culture

Adopting a foreign culture

From this time on, the individual and the environment are mutually consistent with each other. There is an acceptance of a foreign culture and adaptation to the life of a new society.

Coming home and re-anxiety

After returning home, re-adaptation occurs, only in the opposite direction.

Repeated euphoria

Euphoria arises again, hope for change.

Reverse culture shock

The cultural characteristics of their native country are beginning to be assessed more critically and seem not as “normal” as they used to be.

Reintegrating into your culture

The student completely returns to the usual life activity, without feeling any discomfort.

Ways to Overcome Culture Shock

There are several effective ways to help a foreign student adapt in a foreign country and cope with culture shock.

Keep a diary

Describing your own feelings and sensations will help you understand yourself and resolve conflicts.

Chat with new people

Find friends and acquaintances who will help you settle in a new country. You will be surprised how many stereotypes are erased after the first acquaintance!

Do your usual things

Do what you are used to more often: watch your favorite films in your native language, cook national food, communicate with your relatives.

Go in for sports

Physical activity will distract you from sad memories and help relieve stress and mental stress.

Develop a sense of humor

Humor is an effective defensive response to the many discrepancies between expectations and reality. A sense of humor really helps to overcome many difficulties!

Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Kuban State University, Russia (World Economics); Westminster University (Business & Management).
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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