Outbound - Resources - While Abroad - Cultural Adjustment

While Abroad

Voila! Finally you arrived the host country, which may be a completely new country to you. While you are excited, bear in mind that there are a lot of things that you should pay attention to. It will definitely help you to create a smooth and fruitful study abroad experiences.

Left Column
Text Area

Cultural Adjustment

It is normal to feel stress when adjusting to another culture, but there is much that you can do to minimize the impact. You can start by learning about your host culture before you travel abroad. While abroad, try to view things from the local perspective.

Below are a few pointers:


Text Area
Meet locals/share an interest

Make an effort to meet local people. The easiest way to meet people is to participate in an interest group, sports or music. These are things that can be done even if there are language or cultural barriers. Don’t glue yourself to instant messaging or Facebook with your friends in Hong Kong; make an effort to plug into your host culture.

Text Area
Know your environment

Take time to walk around the local area and familiarize yourself with the local establishments. Find interesting places and talk to people around you. You will soon feel more comfortable in your new environment.

Text Area
Stay positive

Avoid those who have a habit of criticizing the host culture. Build friendships with people who will help you learn, who will listen to your concerns and who will help you develop a positive attitude.

Text Area
Follow local news

Read newspapers and magazines, watch local TV and movies to learn about local perspectives and customs. These will help you integrate into the host culture and also help you acquire information that is relevant to your health and safety while in the host country.

Text Area
Take photos/record your experience

Keep a journal, blog or post on your social media accounts. Record your experiences, thoughts and observations, and take the time to reflect. Writing your experiences and reflections down will help you measure your adjustment to the host culture.

Text Area

If you are having difficulties, don’t wait to speak to someone about them. They can be your friends, classmates, staff from the university etc. The availability and nature of mental health services varies by location. International SOS is able to direct you to a vetted English-speaking counselor in most locations.