Culture Clash when studying abroad

Perhaps your host mother is not cooking food you like. Or perhaps you cannot access Wifi as easily as you expected. Whatever it is, your study abroad experience will not always be perfect. Here are some tips to keep in mind when things go wrong. It may sound cheesy, but in the end, everything depends on your attitude.

1. Have a sense of humor.

Anything that is frustrating or dreadfully inconvenient can become an inside joke with you and your friends. Just think of all the crazy stories that will entertain your family and friends when you get home. Study abroad programs are not often called “adventures” for no reason!

2. Remember how excited you were to come here.

Would you rather be studying in this exciting area of the world or back at home doing what you have always done? Think of all the students at your school who would be thrilled to be in your position.

3. Keep an open mind.

Remember that your cultural expectations and the culture around you will inevitably clash at times. Just because you are used to speedy customer service at a restaurant does not necessarily mean that it is part of the country you are in. If you feel that some aspects of your new culture are inferior to that of the United States, try considering what the United States can learn from this country. Or keep in mind your primary reasons why you chose this country in the first place.

4. Do substantial research of the country to avoid unpleasant surprises

Having adequate knowledge of the country’s culture can help you mentally prepare for the less appealing parts of your host country. Your program’s alumni can be especially valuable for knowing what to expect and how to prepare accordingly.

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