How to Combat Culture Shock when Living Abroad

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” Robert Louis Stevenson.

Going on a big trip, preparing to move or live abroad for a considerable amount of time can seem quite intimidating at first – especially when it is your first time to go on a big trip. It can seem even more daunting when you have decided to travel and live in a country so far away from where you are from or where the culture is like nothing you have experienced before.

To take away this fear, read up on some practical tips on what to expect, how to prepare and what to do upon arriving in your new country.

1. Be prepared for culture shock

Anxiety, homesickness, or questioning if you made the wrong decision are all very normal parts of culture shock. These feelings can already start a couple of weeks before going on a long trip. You may start to have feelings of wanting to back out and not going on the trip anymore. Not everyone experiences it, but most people do in some sort of form. For some, it is just for a couple of days or weeks, but for others – especially if not prepared - it can also sometimes last for several months.

Expect culture shock and what to look out for when you might experience it. Look back on the good experiences and be aware that it shall pass and the feelings you may experience will not last forever. At the end of your trip or stay in a foreign country, you will see that it was all worth it and you will have no regrets!

2. Bring comfort items from back home and use Skype!

What you can do to ease culture shock, when it strikes, is to bring personal items from back home. These can include photos of friends and family, clothes, blankets or even cuddlies. You should have something with you that you will feel comfort in. That way, when you are feeling down and you look at these items, they may help you