Homesickness and Culture Shock

Telephone and email offer the possibility of instant comfort and support from someone who cares about you. Meeting new people and spending time in your new community are important steps in the acculturation process. Consider joining a conversation club to work on your English. You’ll meet people from the area as well as other students who are going through the same feelings you are. Culture shock, a term created by Kalvero Oberg in 1960, consists of distinct phases.

If you are keeping busy and being productive, you have less time to sit around and feel lonely or homesick. If you used to enjoy going for a morning walk to get coffee, ask around to see if there is a nice park nearby to continue your routine.

  • And that’s a key sign to me of not being self aware.
  • Programs & Courses Programs Innovative study abroad and internship experiences in global cities.
  • In addition to our tips on this list, consider trying to spend some time engaging in mindfulness activities to get in touch with yourself.
  • So I’m here and I’m doing that and it’s perfect.

For me, the key to overcoming homesickness was to stop looking at the big picture and just take baby steps. I stressed myself out because I knew that I should be eating more than just a cracker or two for meals. I felt uncomfortable when I had to go out to eat at restaurants because of social obligations. I wouldn’t order anything, or if I did, I couldn’t take more than a few bites of what I had ordered . I was incredibly anxious that I had made a huge mistake by going on this trip, that I hadn’t been ready at all. At the end of the day, none of those thoughts were getting me anywhere. These differences may lead to internal conflict as you try to adapt to them.

The first step in addressing culture shock

Physical activity may be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling down, but it is worth a try. Anything that moves your body and gets your blood flowing can release endorphins, clear your mind and make a huge difference in your mood. Stay in touch with friends you made while abroad.

Incoming Students

I think traveling for several months and staying abroad for several months are two very different things. When I am traveling for months , the discovery momentum lasts and I don’t really feel homesick.

Realize that adjusting takes time

Don’t worry, I’ve been there and hopefully can give you a few pointers. This is the stage in which culture shock happens. The student’s focus shifts to differences rather than similarities and some of the symptoms described above occur. After being abroad where a daily task was an exciting challenge and you were meeting so many new people, returning to the comfortable routines of home may seem boring. However, with your new international experience and language ability, you can seek out new outlets to channel your interests—new friends, clubs, activities and more.

These kind of frustrations are likely to solve themselves as you become more knowledgeable and competent in the new culture. It can occur soon after arrival or within a few weeks. Not every student feels the same way, however. Jasminemarie Mack, a Howard University junior psychology major and painting minor from Denver, Colorado, has never felt homesick on campus and was incredibly excited to move out.

After establishing a greater familiarity with your new city and a comforting routine with your new home, the natural next step is staying in touch with your roots. The time difference between Italy and the US can make schedules differ greatly, but doing a few simple actions can still maintain meaningful relationships. I have found that setting a certain day to do essential chores such as grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning has helped my daily life feel more organized and structured. When I was first getting settled, it was overwhelming to remember what I needed to do and when to prioritize my tasks. Now, I am able to wake up and know the things I could do that day to make my week flow more smoothly. Self-care is often emphasized among students, and doing that during a study abroad experience is no exception. It can sound cliche to “focus on self-care,” but it truly works.

For many students, arriving in a new place can be both exciting and anxiety-producing. This may be a common reaction for any student moving to a new community.

During Ash’s time on campus, she made sure to do things that helped alleviate her homesickness, like reaching out to her extended family in the D.C. Area and keeping in contact with her close family back in Alabama. Although staying connected with her extended family helped her feel less alone on campus, she still longed for the personal connection and familiarity she had with her parents and siblings back home. There is no one definitive college experience.

I think the difference was that in my mind I knew Tokyo wasn’t just a trip. This was my new home, and these loud sounds, intense smells, and bright lights were something I was going to have to deal with every day. I think that’s the difference and maybe where homesickness starts to sink in. After some time (usually one-third to one-half way through an experience), you become less excited about your host environment and become confused and frustrated. You believe you will never learn the language, the culture doesn’t’t make sense, you’re discouraged, and as an international student, your family will not be here to support you so you become homesick. As such, this is the most difficult stage of adjustment.

I moved from California to West Sussex, England in 2021. This was the second time I’ve moved from the US to the UK. You can safely say I’m hooked on living here. Culture shock has many different effects, time spans, and degrees of severity. Many people are hampered by its presence and do not recognize why they are bothered. The aim of this study was to obtain a greater insight into the association between vacations and happiness. We examined whether vacationers differ in happiness, compared to those not going on holiday, and if a holiday trip boosts post-trip happiness.

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