Overcoming Culture Shock

Video Transcript

Probably one of the most difficult things is actually opening yourself up when you first arrive upon country. You deal with culture shock. That's one of the first things that kind of hits you where you're in a new place, everything's great, everything's shiny and new, and you're speaking—or at least attempting to speak—a different language and then all of a sudden it hits you and you're just like, 'Oh, dear goodness. I am not home.' [laughs] Then it really starts to set in that you're in a new environment with a different culture. Everyone has a different way of going about their daily lives: how they interact with family, how they interact with friends. One of the best things that someone can do is, honestly, jump straight in. Oftentimes it's hard for people whenever they are in a new environment. Especially speaking a new language, people feel self-conscious. They don't want someone to immediately notice that they're a foreigner or immediately notice that they cannot speak the language very well. So the best thing is really just to start talking to people. I'm not saying go grab a random person on the street but if you have a host family, engage with your host family. Those are gonna be the people that show you sort of the best ins and outs of the culture and they're there to support you and be with you, so engaging when you first get there is one of the best ways to adapt.

A Boren program representative describes methods of dealing with culture shock.