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UVM Study Abroad Pre-Departure Guidebook

Section 2 Cross Cultural Issues

Culture Shock and the Process of Cultural Adjustment

Suggestions on how to make your adjustment as smooth as possible:

  • Maintain a sense of humor. Be able to laugh at yourself and at the predicaments you get into.
  • Make an effort to learn about the region where you are staying - its people, religions, customs, history, etc.
  • Begin to consciously look for logical reasons for anything in the host country that seems strange, confusing, or threatening. There is a reason why locals do things differently than people do in your country.
  • Resist the temptation to constantly disparage the host country. You do not have to agree with the way that locals view things or do things, but constantly criticizing things in your environment will only leave you feeling more miserable, and may make others wonder why you are here.
  • Other students from the U.S. can be very helpful when you first arrive, but as time goes on, try not to rely solely on co-nationals for support.
  • Find students who can be understanding and sympathetic to your situation, with whom you can share your feelings of confusion. This person can be your “cultural informant” and help explain things to you about the local culture and lifestyle.
  • Don’t forget to participate in activities you would normally do at home (e.g. sports, reading, taking baths, etc.) These activities will help you manage stress. If those activities are not available there, try to find an activity that gives you the same feeling of happiness or relaxation.

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Last modified April 26 2012 12:21 PM

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