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Culture Shock

May 4, 2012

By: Ludonis Maule
Ludonis Maule is a senior at Baruch College majoring in Entrepreneurship Management with a minor in Spanish. She has worked at Baruch College’s Study Abroad Office for the past three years where she advises students on their study abroad options and procedures, she has also coordinated several of the office’s Study Abroad Fairs. This spring 2012 semester she is interning at InteRDom in the Marketing department.

Culture shock is a common occurrence affecting individuals studying abroad. It is important to prepare before you leave so that you are not caught off guard. Included below are suggestions for dealing with culture shock after you have arrived in the host country.


    • Read books, magazines, newspapers and watch television shows to begin to familiarize yourself with the country and its culture


    • Speak to students who have gone to this country, as well as natives


    • Attend study abroad information sessions and pre-departure orientations if available


    • Observe your surroundings, explore your immediate environment, try new foods


    • Try to not only observe cultural differences, but ask questions to try to understand WHY those things are different


    • Keep a journal


  • Contact your family and friends. Usually some knowledge of what’s taking place back home doesn’t make you feel as if you are left out.


    • After the arrival and observation process you should have settled in fairly well


    • Try making friends with natives in your class or other students on the same program as you


    • Explore more of the country with friends or on excursions available through the program


    • Try more foods and attend cultural activities.


    • This is your time to speak more of the language of the country, even if you are feeling insecure


    • Visit your favorite restaurants and attractions before you leave


    • Update your journal


    • Attend Fairs and Information sessions to assist prospective students


    • Keep in contact with the friends you made while abroad

The Caribbean should be one of your top study abroad choices; there is no doubt that you would have a life changing experience. Keep in mind that other persons are always eager to hear about your study abroad experiences, so don’t be afraid to get involved with organizations or activities on campus after you return home to share them.

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