Culture Shock in USA

What Cultural Shocks do Students Experience?

It’s always a noisy bomb of excitement which blasts in your head when you leave home and travel to study in an unfamiliar country. It is of course a stressful experience when we think of people, food and the whole culture where we need to be settled for at least a few years. Maximum people are surprised when they come up with the impact of culture shock, and it can be helpful when you realize the experience is actually quite pretty good and normal. When you arrive in the United States, you will be immersed in a different culture than you are used to at home. Known as ‘culture shock’ the intense feelings of homesickness and irritability you may experience when traveling to a new country with a different language and customs can feel overwhelming at first. If you are used to another culture, American customs might feel strange at few places. A large number of students come to USA to study since it has many reputed universities. Read here about the top universities in the US which take GRE scores. There are different factors to which students take time to adjust to.

Source: Internations

What is Cultural Shock?

Cultural Shock is when you move into an unfamiliar country from a familiar one. You will look to the new environment, meeting almost all new people, trying at your best to learn and know the culture. As you are suddenly moving to a different place, there is also an impact of being separated from your loved ones such as family, friends, colleagues, and teachers. You would, of course, miss the talks, and guidance and more importantly the fun you had years and years with them. Read here about the emotions which you feel while studying abroad.

In Japan, it is important to bow when you meet someone than shaking hand, but in US it this would be highly irregular.

In Spain, people commonly touch and bump into each other in busy areas, but in the U.S. people value “personal space” and do not wish to be touched in any way by strangers.
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Factors that can contribute to culture shock in USA

These are the factors that contribute to cultural shocks in the USA:

1. Climate

The climate change might be the major reason that affects the health. Our body takes time to come the meter of temperature in the new country. Many students find the northwest climate can affect them a lot. In the winter season, you will experience the issue of grayness and dampness which is difficult to get used to it.

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2. Language

Learning a new language is the most exciting task the one would ever experience. It’s quite interesting to learn to speak in an unfamiliar language. You might find it problematic to understand the lecture and reading materials as well. The people from the same country would speak fluently, but you might get embarrassed when you will get nothing. Keep calm, and learn the language. Get it familiar soon.

3. Social Roles

Social life in the international countries is smooth. You may find it surprising or offensive when you will see a couple kissing on the streets. You may find the relationships between men and women more formal or less formal than you are used to, as well as differences in same-sex social contact and relationships.

4. ‘Rules’ of behavior

As well as the obvious things that hit you immediately when you arrive, such as sights, sounds, smells and tastes, every culture has unspoken rules which affect the way people treat each other. Sooner or later, you might probably encounter them and again come up with an effect that may be disorientating. For example, if you are getting late for a lecture, meeting or business then you should try to give advance notice.

5. Values

Sometimes, people may have very different views of the world and the culture from you, but remember you may first become aware of cultural differences in your physical environment such as food, behavior, and dress. Cultures that are deeply from the sets of values, norms, assumptions, and beliefs can be surprising or sometimes distressing to find that people do not share sensitive information because of taking the core values and beliefs for granted. The only thing you will try to understand is what people say or do in the context of their own culture’s norms. Getting familiar to the culture will help you to find the difference between what’s suitable and what is not.

6. Relationship Stress

If your partner stays with you in the US, then remember that the only thing which can struggle you to fight over the relationship is the stress of the transition. Somewhere, your partner might feel lonely, because of the tough transition to a new culture. It might more difficult to make new friends or pursuing a degree course.

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The best thing to defeat the stress of cultural adjustment is to learn new coping skills, generate ideas about how to get connected and receive support for the many transitions they are experiencing. Also, try to navigate the differences between your home culture and abroad campus. In this manner, students can adapt to a new culture and make their study abroad experience the best time of their lives. Have you got any suggestions? Please do share in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to share your feedback.

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About the Author

Rachit believes in the power of education and has studied from the top institutes of IIIT Allahabad, IIM Calcutta, and Francois Rabelias in France. He has worked as Software Developer with Microsoft and Adobe. Post his MBA, he worked with the world’s # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group across multiple geographies US, South-East Asia and Europe.

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