Culture Shock: When You’re Far from Home

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Congratulations, study abroad, international student or even home students in a new place! You’re a world traveler, maybe an international student, and you have just arrived in your new host city or country. Your bags are unpacked, your instagram stories are locked and ready to go, so why does getting out there feel harder than getting your hands on a new PS5? This is the start of your big adventure, so why does it feel so difficult sometimes? The term Culture Shock refers to the anxiety, stress, and depression that people can experience when they move abroad. Culture Shock is defined by its three phases: Honeymoon, Frustration, and finally… Acceptance! But, and it’s a big but, not everyone experiences these phases in the same way. That’s right – the shy guy, the know-it-all, your classmate who could double as Tom Holland’s stunt double – everyone can experience Culture Shock. At mindhamok, we totally understand that Culture Shock can be an unexpected bump in your otherwise perfectly smooth, sun-filled, road trip plans. We’re here to remind you that Culture Shock can feel like s*** but is actually a normal phenomenon. Relax! We’re here to offer you some tips to help you get through it.

If you’re currently struggling with any of the following, oh yeah, you may be going through the Frustration Phase of Culture Shock:

  • Feeling homesick or bored, even when you’re in a totally cool new place!
  • Loss of confidence in yourself or your abilities – have you forgotten you’re a total rockstar?
  • Major changes in appetite, sleep patterns, concentration, and energy levels – even after you’ve kicked your dreaded jet-lag?
  • Overall, feeling like you’re just not your normal bada*** self or living your best life?

So, do any of these sound familiar? If so, don’t lose your s***. The phases and symptoms of Culture Shock are actually super normal, healthy, and expected reactions that can happen to all of us when we’re thrown into a new cultural context.

The good news is that here at mindhamok, we’ve put together a snazzy list of tips and tricks to help you cope as you pass through these phases. Check out these pointers for your own Culture Shock survival guide:

  • First of all, go easy on yourself and acknowledge Culture Shock for what it is; a natural process, and will pass as you level-up to the next phase, Acceptance.
  • Get ready, get set, and dive in! Throw yourself into learning the language, rules of social conduct, and history of your host city / country.
  • As rad as your international student adventure can seem, sometimes you could find
    yourself missing friends or loved ones. Schedule a weekly Facetime, start an
    international student blog, or create a travel series on TikTok to reconnect, catch up, and fill them in on your new adventures.
  • Establish a routine to give yourself some stability. Did you have a morning routine at
    home? Used to love to smash that AM workout and make yourself a green smoothie? Or did you prefer to start your day with a chilled meditation session? Try to incorporate it into your new lifestyle.

When you’re Studying overseas or starting your university adventure at home, it’s normal to feel upset or like things are slightly different than what you had expected. Culture Shock can really make you feel like you’re losing your marbles. At mindhamok, we’re here to help with a wide range of services, on-call therapists, and tip-sheets to help you get through the hard times, together.

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