Needing to prepare for culture shock might sound odd at first, but many people may put themselves at risk of having a bad time, especially if they’re not ready or willing to familiarize themselves with a country’s different cultures, customs, and traditions. There are some travelers that just have the mindset that other countries are similar theirs, the language, the music, the food, the transportation, the holidays, all of it.
You could even be on the same continent, but you’re not guaranteed any similarities. This is something that a first-timer should definitely keep in mind. So, how can you get yourself prepared for all of these differences so you won’t run the risk of having a bad time? Keep reading on to find out more!
A trip abroad can be an amazing experience filled with adventure and new sights. But it also comes with some unexpected challenges. You’re not going to be expected to instantly get used to all of the different elements, but it’s vital to have an understanding that things are different no matter where you go. Even when it comes to say, places to visit in Toowoomba, you’ll need to be prepared for some differences. The best way to mentally prepare for this is to focus on the positive.
This can be a great way to help you adjust to a new culture, especially during the honeymoon phase. Another way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by culture shock is to stay connected with your friends and family back home. It may sound a little weird, but being pulled into this comfort zone that reminds you of home can make things easier on you. Check with your phone carrier to make sure you’ve got a plan with international text or call service. Alternately, look into SIM cards that you can use on a pay-per-minute basis at your destination.
Even if there are major differences, where it’s the total opposite of what you expected, just try not to allow this to ruin your experience. So, how could it ruin your trip? Well, it’s going to depend on you and how you feel. There might be a chance that you’re not going to want to eat anything, or you may resort to only eating food you’re comfortable with. This can go even further, such as not wanting to go out, only wanting to stay in your hotel room, feeling lonely and withdrawn, or just constantly comparing this destination to somewhere else, such as your home or previous trips you’ve been on.
You’ve worked so hard for this trip, so pace yourself and try new things little by little. Small steps can have you starting to feel more confident and happy in your new surroundings. However, it is important to remember that this is a process and that you must adjust to the culture in a gradual manner.
One thing you need to keep in mind when traveling, especially if it’s another country, would be the fact that you need to stay positive through all of it. But in order to stay positive, you’ll need to just focus on being open-minded. You essentially can’t have one without the other. Honestly, the best thing you can do to fight back against culture shock would be to have an open mind to everything you’re being exposed to.
It also helps to overcome cognitive dissonance – the feeling that new thoughts conflict with previous beliefs. This can help you to see the world more clearly and solve problems that may otherwise seem impossible. In the end, you can count on good things happening if you stay open-minded about your situation.
If this is a vacation and not an extended stay, then you need to remind yourself to just take each day one step at a time. When you are traveling, especially abroad, it is important to mentally prepare for culture shock. It may take some time, but eventually, it should subside, and you will start to feel more at home in your new country. When culture shock first hits, it can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable. It can make you feel stressed about the language, irritated at the people and culture, and even homesick.
While it can be frustrating, this is the stage where you need to stay calm and focus on what is positive. Remind yourself of why you traveled to this place in the first place and find a way to enjoy it again. Getting out and exploring is the best way to combat culture shock! Go to the local market (grocery stores are Jake’s favorite, we’re told), try out a different cuisine, or walk in the park. In general, you’re going to want to go at a slow pace and just try to have some fun with it!
What do YOU do to immerse yourself in a new culture? Help Modhop newbies by letting us know in the comments or @modhop on socials.