Moving to a new country is not always about the “ups”, you might also encounter some downs. This is because you are leaving your comfort zone and starting a new life at your Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme destination. Take your time when settling into your new destination. Being homesick is completely normal but try to not let your feelings overwhelm you and ruin the chance of making the experience the best time of your life. Homesickness is also the first sign of culture-shock. Culture shock is a completely normal phenomenon that almost always occurs when moving to an unknown environment.
What is Culture Shock?
Culture Shock is the feeling you get when you move from home and you are not familiar with the customs, culture or life in a new country or city. It can be triggered by all sorts of things such as new food, ways of greeting people, unfamiliar hand gestures, not knowing the area you are living in and language barriers.
There are usually four stages of culture shock: honeymoon, frustration, adjustment, and adapting.
This is the first stage, which lasts from when you arrive at your destination and lasts several weeks. This is the euphoric phase where you literally love everything about your new home because everything is so exciting!
The frustration stage usually kicks in a few months after you arrive. This is when you take off your pink glasses and that first excitement slowly decreases. This could be because you are faced with uncomfortable situations such as language barriers or customs you are not familiar with. At this stage you start to miss your home country, your family, or your friends or even your favourite foods at home.
During the adjustment phase, you start you finally fully settle-in and life gets better and better as you develop a routine at your Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme destination. You get more familiar with your destination, the food, the people, and the traditions. There might still be difficulties, but they don’t baffle you anymore.
Finally, you reach the adapting stage where you fully feel at home. You have successfully settled into the new country and adapted your way of living. Usually, this goes along with finding friends you can spend time with and share experiences with. That’s because once you find great company you will most likely feel at home.
Sometimes when you return to your home country after a certain amount of time, you might encounter the fifth stage of culture shock. That’s because things at home now feel different to when you left. You have to settle back in and might find it difficult to adjust to your family and friends again. Their life carried on as well, but they haven’t enjoyed the same experiences as you have and might not understand your new opinions on certain things. Unfortunately, you now have to go through the whole process of adjustment and adapting again.
Experiencing culture shock is a normal thing when moving to a completely new environment where you don’t know the people or the customs. This is just a phase that will vanish sooner or later. This depends on how fast you settle in. If you find friends quickly, culture shock will most likely disappear fast because they’re going through the same things as you and you can help each other to feel at home, or they’ve already settled in and so they can tell you how to overcome culture shock fast.