When you step into a new country, a whole wave of fear engulfs you. You do not know what to do and how to do. You feel like a fish out of water. You want to complain but your dreams do not let you. They hold you so tightly that you do not find any escape. This is the time when you go through existential crisis in your life, and look out for answers. But instead of answers, you get a bucket full of challenges. Want to know the challenges? Read on:
Culture shock is one of the most terrifying experience a person has to go through. It occurs when reality hits you really hard, and you realize that you are somewhere you do not belong. It is defined as the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. It is experienced by most of the international students when they step into the foreign countries. They come to terms with different people coming from different countries, following different cultures. For example, if a person is from India and has come to UK, he will be surprised by the way things are done in UK. If you are an international student then you might have gone through a similar situation. But have you ever tried to adjust to the new environment? Because it is important to make yourself as adaptable as possible since these attitudes come handy when you have no other way out.
Stages of culture shock/Stress
There are five stages to culture shock/stress:
1. Honeymoon stage
2. Hostility stage
4. Home stage
5. Re-entry Shock or Reverse Culture Shock
Signs and symptoms of culture shock:
• Sadness, loneliness;
• Preoccupation with health; aches and pains;
• Disturbed sleep pattern;
• Mood changes; depression, mood swings, anger, irritability;
• Unwilling to interact with others, withdrawal;
• Loss of identity;
• Lack of confidence and reduced abilities;
• Feelings of paranoia;
Quién eres tú? Est ce que ça va? Do these two questions make any sense to you? No? Why? Because they belong to a language that is different than yours. Same is the problem with those students who come abroad to acquire higher education. They do not how to talk to others as they are not familiar with their language, and vice versa. It is really difficult to get their point across because a language barrier always stays there. The only solution that can be offered to international students is that they should try to open up to people and make them understand their point while understanding theirs. It is indeed difficult and a time-consuming process, but not an impossible one.
Another big challenge that international students have to face is home-sickness. Since they are new to the environment so they do not know what to do during their spare time or where to go?
So, they prefer being at home as it gives them a sense of comfort and peace. They feel that they are secure here as this is the only place they know about. They have no friends in a new country so it becomes difficult for them to hang out with friends or have some fun. They try to remain aloof most of the time as they are too confused as how to initiate a conversation or bring people into a healthy debate. Therefore, they remain calm and quiet most of the time. The solution that can be offered to home-sick international students is that, make friends, talk to them, know their viewpoints, confide in them and then start exploring the new country with them. This is how you will start enjoying the ambience of a new place.
Another challenge that an international student has to face is to keep a check on finances. It is really difficult to manage finances in a new country. It is really difficult to get a job there as no one knows you here, nor anyone is interested to give you a job. That’s because they prefer hiring the employees of their own country and you remain there as a left-out. Apart from that, it is really difficult to manage your expenditures here because you are unaware of the norms and traditions of this new country. You need assistance here, and if you get some, you are lucky. So in order to manage your finances, try to choose a job that gives you good pay and a guarantee of a better future.
It is so difficult to leave a family behind. When an international student has to do this, it causes him so much pain. He feels that he has none left in the world and he is all alone in a new country. When he looks at strangers, he remembers his family members, friends and acquaintances. He tries to adjust himself to the new environment, but the memories of his family haunt him now and then. This issue can be resolved by making them to talk to their parents once in a week.
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