How to deal with culture shock

ApplyBoard - Culture shock

How to deal with culture shock


What is ‘Culture Shock’? You may have heard of this term before if you have ever researched studying abroad and traveling.

Culture shock: ‘an experience a person may have when one moves to a cultural environment which is different from one’s own; it is also the personal disorientation a person may feel when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life due to immigration or a visit to a new country, a move between social environments, or simply transition to another type of life.’

Some symptoms of culture shock

  • Feeling of sadness and loneliness
  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of sleep
  • Mood changes
  • Allergies and pains
  • Feelings of being lost
  • Feeling uncomfortable and confused


Culture shock sounds like it can be a bit overwhelming. You won’t be the only one who goes through these feelings. Many students feel some symptoms of culture shock while they are studying abroad.  But don’t worry below we are going to talk about a few tips that you can use to help you deal with culture shock.

Essentially culture shock is going from a surrounding/culture that you are familiar and comfortable with, to something that is very unfamiliar. Being separated from family and friends can also add to culture shock.

Some other things that add to culture shock can be:

  • Climate
  • Language Barriers
  • Values
  • Relationships

How to deal with culture shock

First off you need to remind yourself that these feeling that you are experiencing are perfectly normal. Many international students get these feelings. Studying abroad is a new experience!

You will want to make sure that you keep in touch with your family and friends back home. This will help minimize the negative feelings you may be dealing with. You can share your feelings with the people you are most comfortable with.

Someone else that you could talk to would be the staff at your schools the International Students Office (This office may be a different name depending on your school). The staff in this office are there to give you guidance throughout your time studying abroad. Also try to engage with other international students. Remember you aren’t the only one who is going through these feelings. Talking with others will help you feel more comfortable in your new surroundings.

Try to get involved with some activities on or off campus! Try to fill the time when you aren’t in class with some fun activities. Keep your mind off the bad feelings and enjoy your time! There are usually many on campus activities and clubs that you could join. This is also a great way for your to meet new people and get used to your surroundings.

Stressed out about your finances? Don’t know what to do with your spare time? You could get a part time job. Learn more about working while you study abroad here.

Make sure you stay healthy! Eat properly and make sure you are in good health. Being stressed can make you more susceptible to becoming sick.

Before you land in Canada or the USA it is a good idea to prepare yourself for your new life. Feeling prepared will help decrease your feeling of culture shock. Learn how you can start preparing for life in North America.


Don’t let culture shock discourage you! Many students go through some feelings of culture shock. Studying in Canada and the USA is a great experience. You will get to experience a new culture and meet so many new people. You will adjust to your new surrounding in Canada or the USA in no time!


Need some more tips to deal with the stress of being an international student? Click here!


Still needing to apply to college or universities in Canada or the USA? Look no further! ApplyBoard is here to help you through the entire application process all the way to helping you apply for your study visa. Get started TODAY! >>

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