Subscribe Popup

- See more at:

Culture shock!

Understanding cultural differences and preparing for culture shock are critical for your academic success when studying abroad.
Cultural differences are hard to grasp. We live in our own world and have a hard time imagining a social world that is so different than our own. Moreover, globalization and the internet lead us to underestimate cross-cultural differences across different parts of the world. But in fact, basic behaviors related to speaking, eating, personal space, manners and more, are different in different countries. When travelling to study in another country, cultural shock is unavoidable. But the good news is that culture shock follows a predictable pattern, and knowing it can minimize its negative impact and reduce its duration.

The Pattern of Cultural Adjustment

When going to study abroad, people will go through a natural process of adjustment that will include the stages of: Honeymoon, crisis, recovery, and adjustment.

The Honeymoon phase:
In the beginning, you will be excited about the new country and everything it has to offer. You will likely think the locals are friendly and welcoming, and maybe over-estimate how easy it will be for you to integrate into the new society.

The Crisis Phase / Culture shock:
As time goes by, you will begin to feel more how your perceptions and social responses are not in line with the local culture. This often happens due to objective situations, such as a small accident, a suitcase that does not arrive, or one of the million other small annoying things that sometimes happen in life. Then you find out that you do not really know how to take care of things that were so natural and easy in your home country. You may try to be nice and assertive, yet come across as overwhelming and aggressive. You may try to be polite, but come across as cold or weird. Worse yet, you will probably not be able to understand the social cues that tell you that you are doing something wrong. Accumulating negative experiences like these causes an internal crisis and deep frustration. This "culture shock” can result in sleeping issues, appetite changes, and in many cases sadness. But this is a natural response to a dramatic change in your life. And this is only a stage in the cultural adjustment pattern. It gets better from here.

Recovery and adjustment:
As you begin to admit that you don’t know the new social codes – you open up to learning them. Your language becomes better, you start to know people, and you begin to feel more comfortable with the culture. During recovery and adjustment, you will begin to expand your social networks and obtain support of your old and new friends; you will understand what you love about the new culture and how to balance it with the traditions and customs of your home country. You will gain more and more positive experiences that will boost your confidence and make you feel more at home.

Jacob Bacon, a Change-Management expert and GradTrain co-founder, explains that the attitude towards change depends to a large extent on people's personality traits. “It is common to point to seven factors that would determine a person’s ability to cope with change: Positive perception of yourself, positive perception of the world, focus, organization skills, proactiveness, flexible-thought, and a flexible-social attitude. People who have these traits will likely have an easier time going through change.”

Be prepared for cultural differences

The cumulative expertise of the GradTrain team produced some practical tips for people who go through culture shock. “We are five people who came from five different countries and studied five different fields,” says Lital Helman, GradTrain VP. “We have a quite broad experience in dealing with cultural shock, and know that the hardship is worth it.” Here are some tips that can help other people who go study abroad and are going to have a cultural shock:

1. There are quite a few amusing yet real and useful examples of differences in the way people speak in different countries here and here. The scholar Geert Hofestede also summarized some key differences between countries. This is really helpful.

One case that we heard of at GradTrain is of someone who moved to study in the US from a country that has a significantly more direct and explicit culture. People would tell her ‘let’s have lunch sometime’ and she kept inviting them to lunch. It ended up being OK and she actually made many friends this way. But she would have had a much easier time had she read some of these guides and known that in American culture, when people say ‘let’s have lunch sometime’ they actually mean ‘it was nice to meet you – and maybe we’ll meet again at some point’.

2. Stay positive and remember that these feelings are temporary. Look for the positive things in the new culture and look to connect with other people who are currently going through this process.

3. Remind yourself of the long term goals of why you are here. As said above, focused people have a better resilience to change.

4. Be proactive. Don’t wait for things to happen to you! Reach out to other international students from your own country that already have experience from the country you are going to study in. Connect with a GradTrain coach (starting August). They can help you cope. It is easier to go through it when you see that others are - or were - in the same boat as you. 

5. Be organized! Plan what you can do to better adjust, and follow this path.

6. Remember that even when the culture shock is strong, recovery and adjustment will follow. Don’t despair! It is much easier to recover and adjust when you understand that this is a natural and normal process!

Do not forget, that while culture shock is hard, it is also a blessing. Being exposed to other cultures opens your mind and allows you to gain a greater understanding of the world, expand your social capabilities and cope in more complex situations in your life.  Understanding cultural differences is just one of the many important skills that international education will provide you. Make sure you embrace these differences!

We know that many of our readers have experience with studying abroad. Why don’t you tell us about your “cultural difference experiences,” whether they be funny, interesting, profound, sad, irritating, or all of the above.


  1. Media needs to assume great part in the public eye while on the planet and essay writing service our websitefor understudies. I am additionally native of UK and i realize what is great estimation of instruction.

    1. Studying abroad isn't as easy as we seems it. When I study in UK, I remember I had face a lot of issues regarding academic life. Settling in University hostel is somehow difficult for me but after getting help from affordable assignment writing service then I was so relax because you can't find anyone more helpful than these experts.

  2. The cumulative expertise of the GradTrain team produced some practical tips for people who go through culture shock Express Specialization - SMB Track. “We are five people who came from five different countries and studied five different fields,” says Lital Helman, GradTrain VP Cisco TelePresence Solutions Specialist. “We have a quite broad experience in dealing with cultural shock, and know that the hardship is worth it.” Here are some tips that can help other people who go study abroad and are going to have a cultural shock Sales Engineers:

    1. Hey everyone! Recently I join GradTrain Blog the content of this blog all things related to study abroad. I want to share pieces of information on an educational website it giving Online accounting test help for the newcomer accounting students.

    2. Hey there if you are a needy student out there and need's professional academic assistance so no worries Affordable Papers UK is here to provide you best writing services and law essay writing help in more affordable manner

  3. Yes! I agree with your opinion. I agree that most of the students are facing problems because they study abroad. I was searching for the information related pest control services and I see this site article really helpful for me as I was admiring for these tips thanks for sharing.

  4. I can understand that it is very difficult to study abroad. I remember very well When I went to France, it was very difficult for me for months I got help from them and I got to do it with coins

  5. Allegiant Airlines Reservations Adventurers can discover data about their flight status, nearby sweepstakes methods, refund structure, etc. with the help of loyal airline bookings. Customers can call the 24×7 Allegiant Air Reservations phone number to save their location, scheduled flights, and use their advantages to meet customers in a similar way. Allegiant Airlines Reservations Number
    Book Turkish Airlines flights for service and assistance. 1-(844)604-0568 When you contact us, our airline assistant will help you plan your ideal destination within your budget and within your time. Turkish Airlines Reservations NumberTurkish Airlines ticket bookings cover almost all major destinations, including domestic flights and all routes.
    Lufthansa Airlines Reservations Phone Number Through the above steps, cheap Lufthansa flights can be easily booked to multiple destinations; if you are unable to book flights, please call 1-(844)604-0568 to contact the Lufthansa customer service team and seek solutions to your needs Help questions and concerns.
    KLM Airlines Reservations Number Air ticket booking has become easier, and you can book air tickets without spending any time. If you want to take a KLM flight, you need to visit the airline’s website before you can book a seat. In addition, to make it clear to you, this is a step-by-step process and you can make a reservation through the KLM airline reservation phone number.
    Hawaiian Airlines Reservations Number Book Hawaiian Airlines and enjoy your adventure trip. To book Hawaiian Airlines tickets, they offer several modes, such as online, offline, at the airport counter and mobile apps. Value your time and study with us with your family to have fun without having to wait in long lines. Provides several ways to book unforgettable trips. Hawaiian Airlines reservations offer the best prices and earn miles for your next trip.
    Jetblue Airlines Reservations Number JetBlue Airways The airline operates in more than 100 destinations and is known for providing affordable, high-quality services to passengers every day. You can book trips booked with JetBlue Airways on the official website or book flights. Travel expenses can provide huge discounts for flight bookings, even at the last minute, they can also help you get huge discounts on flight bookings.

  6. From link building and keyword research, to web page optimization and technical SEO,SEO specialist is providing search engine optimization that will be customized to your business goals.

  7. For a wide range of organizations and sectors, we deliver great Front End Development Services . With clients all around the world, we make sure to create products that are not only appealing to the target industry and end-users, but also provide a smooth user experience that encourages users to become customers.

  8. We provide excellent Custom Logo Design Services to a wide range of companies and industries. We make care to design products that are not only appealing to the target industry and end-users, but also deliver a seamless user experience that motivates users to become customers, with clients all over the world.

  9. News refers to information about current events or recent developments, typically reported by journalists and media organizations. It can cover a wide range of topics, including politics, economics, social issues, entertainment, sports, and more.

    News is typically communicated through various media channels, such as newspapers, television, radio, and online news websites It is often presented in a timely and concise manner, with the goal of informing the public about important or interesting events that are happening locally, nationally, or globally.

  10. Furniture is important for several reasons: Functionality: Furniture is designed to serve specific functions in our homes and workplaces. For example, chairs provide seating, tables provide a flat surface for work or dining, and beds provide a comfortable place to sleep. Without furniture, it would be challenging to carry out our daily activities effectively. Comfort: Best Furniture Marketplacecan help us feel more comfortable in our living spaces. For instance, a soft sofa or armchair can be a cozy spot to relax after a long day. Ergonomic furniture, designed with comfort in mind, can also help prevent posture-related health issues.

  11. Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity to learn and experience a different culture, but it's important to remember that the process can be difficult and require a lot of adjustment. Cultural adjustment when studying in a different country can be tricky as there are different values, rules, and expectations that you might not be used to. It's important to have an open mind and be respectful of the culture when you are making these adjustments. It's also a good idea to attend any language classes or social activities available in order to make the transition smoother.