One of the biggest obstacles I encounter while studying abroad is moving to a completely new country. The initial excitement and excitement quickly passed away, and I realized with embarrassment that I was filled with strange and different things. Everything from the food and drinks to the local lifestyle, language, and mindset are unlike any of my previous experiences, making me feel small and lonely.
Since then, I officially understood what culture shock is.
Many people think culture shock is just a story, a day or two when it comes to being confused, but actually this psychological phenomenon has the ability to last during the study abroad process, even until returning home. Students must continuously find ways to adapt to different environments and will usually go through the following five stages:
Stage “raffle” – You are free, excited and full of energy to explore the world. Compared with the familiar life in Vietnam before, the interesting difference that the new country makes you completely overwhelmed, like “This is so beautiful”, “This dish is so delicious”, “Weather like it!” You can confidently draw a bright and rosy study abroad journey ahead of you.
Fighting phase – Early joy is like a soap bubble, sparkling but also fragile. You gradually feel disgusted, lost, frustrated in an unfamiliar culture and realize that adapting to it is not easy. You start to miss home so badly that you want to call your parents, your family every day, because that seems like the only place you find yourself belong.
Adjustment phase – “Okay, I can do it,” you tell yourself. Things are getting more controlled and gradually going into orbit. You learn to live independently by trying to solve your own problems, from studying, working to living, eating every day. No more disgusted emotions like before, you embrace cultural differences more actively and really work to be a part of that difference.
Mastering everything stage – Your new country has truly become a second home for you. You feel comfortable all the time and nothing can be difficult for you anymore. You are free to connect with everyone around you with who you are.
Returning period – a strange thing that most international students more or less will experience is the reverse culture shock when they return to their homeland. It is easy to understand, when you are too familiar with the foreign life, the different cultural features in Vietnam can completely make you crazy because you cannot adapt immediately. You find yourself getting used to things all over again.