For most students who come to study at UK for the first time, it’s inevitable for them to think: What if no one likes me here? What if I can’t make new friends? What if I can’t communicate with foreign classmates? It’s a common condition that people worry about this. You need to know and prepare for what is going to happen, like the first thing you will have to face- “Culture-Shock”.
What is “Culture-Shock”?
Culture-Shock is one of the common experiences of students study aboard. Because of the inadequacy of their language ability, social skills and the cross-cultural competence, the Chinese students have experienced great difficulties in their daily life, academic pursuits and stressful social situations during their study at UK. No matter where you move to, it needs time for you to adapt yourself into a new environment. No matter you know nothing about UK culture or you have already known a little about it, you will need a period of time. You will meet people from around the world and listen to different ideas, which will make you find yourself growing up persistently and start to think differently.
Stage 1: Honeymoon
You are curious and excited about the new environment and everything seems to be fresh and interesting. Meanwhile you also enjoy learning new things. Most of the students are confident and optimistic at this stage.
Stage 2: Setbacks and Depression
After the excitement at beginning, many students have to face and solve different kinds of problems and difficulties from daily life and study. Culture differences increasingly emerge. The values you obey and regulations of your home country are not going to work here at UK. At this stage some students start to be depressed, self-contemptuous and lack of sense of safety. Homesickness also makes the condition worse.
Stage 3: Adjustment and Adaption
After months’ of adjustment and running-in, students start to adapt and approve culture of UK. As for the part they can not approve and understand, they will also be tolerate and positive. At this stage most students will regain confidence and tend to smooth and calm.
What should we do?
In a new environment, ways of meeting different people are important. Doing different kinds of sports provide you with the chances. You can join various forms of sports associations at school, or go to the gym and swimming pool where you might meet new friends with the same hobby like you. Especially in a football match or a basketball match that needs teamwork, you dont even need communication with words you can make new friends. Sport is the best language.
Improve your English
For many students whose first language is not English, communication with foreign classmates is the biggest problem. Especially for Chinese students, different from western culture most Chinese are too shy and scared to speak English with others, which makes Chinese students difficult to make friends in a new environment. I’m acutally very lucky that I only have one Chinese classmates in my class and all my classmates come from all over the world. The situation make me have to speak English all the time( I really love speaking English) but not to communicate with Chinese students with Chinese. It really helps me a lot improving my speaking and listening. The Key point is that you need to be confident and speak English as much as you can. No matter how good or poor your English is, don’t be shy just do it.
Be open and make friends
Just like what has been mentioned above, poor English and lack of confidence make Chinese students difficult to make friends with foreign students. Many of them prefer to stay with Chinese students all the time and rarely speak to foreign students just like what they have always being doing in their past 20 years. As a result they can not learn as much as they thought during their study aboard. So what you need to do is to be open and try to make new friends. Chatting and sharing of different ideas with different people can stimulate your passion for life and study.
Make a “home”
It is said that the soul is the home of the attribution. So the most important thing is to maintain an open mind, move around and find fresh new things and talk with others as much as possible. It sounds simple, but if you are interested in new people, places and customs, it will be a very useful experience and you will adjust quickly. Sence of belonging is also of great significant. You can do many things to make your small room more likely to be a “home”. Like the old photos, the dolls or toys, even the fragrance from your fragrance lamp or perfume will make you feel warm and safe.
“Coming back to America was, for me, much more of a culture shock than going to India. The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and their intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world. Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.” – Steve Jobs
Culture-Shock is what all the students will experience when studying aboard. What we need to be positive and open-minded, adjust and adapt ourselves into the new environment, and enjoy the interaction of different cultures. I believe the time we study aboard will be a beautiful memory in the future and I hope that will become precious treasure for all of us.