There is a lot of emotional turmoil that goes with moving to a foreign country to study. Studying abroad often means leaving home for the first time and there can be a lot of heart ache involved. For those who have lived a sheltered life, culture shocks, on reaching a foreign country are natural. The term merely means the sense of awe that comes over you when you are taken away from a culture that you are familiar with and placed in one that seems alien.
Culture shocks encompass the new surroundings that you are in, the new people you meet, their social norms, which may be different from yours, being away from your home and country and definitely the food as well.
There are various stages to culture shocks. At first you may find that you distance yourself from all that is strange when studying abroad. Next, you might either like or begin to abhor certain foreign practices. This will come from your own capacity to deal with culture shocks. Among the most common factors when it comes to the new culture of a place is the climate. For those students who come from relatively warmer climes, studying in American and other western universities can mean facing extremes in temperature.
Food is another major problem for new students, as is language, especially in European and Southeast Asian countries. The style of dressing too can seem strange and may take a while getting used to, depending on your tastes as well as level of conservatism. Another common form of culture shock is interpersonal relations with people. In some western countries, it takes a while to break the ice and people may seem aloof at first. This does not however mean that they are inhospitable. Also people in metropolitan cities will always seem to be in a hurry. Public display of affection is common in western countries and it can take you by surprise.
Dealing with culture shocks is not too difficult. The first thing you need to do is keep an open mind. Be ready to mingle with new people and be receptive to the way of life in your new host country. When dealing with new people, try and befriend those that do not belong to your own community. They too will be undergoing the same thing and you will make mutually good friends. Take the trouble to learn the language and the ways of the host country.
This will make your stay more comfortable. When it comes to food, find an indigenous food store and always have some favorites close at hand. Keep in regular touch with your family as only your relatives will understand your awkwardness the best and help you deal with it.