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Studying abroad allows you to learn a new language and take in some history and sightseeing. Still, it’s also a chance to become immersed in the culture and learn what it means to be a true local.

While your Insta feed blows up with fantastic picture opportunities to make your friends and family back home jealous, there is so much more you can experience and learn.

Although culture shock and homesickness may be a thing you experience in the beginning, there are things to combat this and allow yourself to become fully immersed in this new culture.

Know Your Surroundings

Once you have settled into your “home” for the duration of your time away, take a walk around.

Go to the local grocery store, not the big box stores you see all over, no matter which country you are in, but the little local corner store that might be down a side street.

Here, you experience the local food and products you won’t find in the bigger stores.

This tactic allows you to try new foods and other things, giving you a taste of the more traditional dishes and treats.

Explore the immediate area and see what sites there are around you. While this may be harder if you are in a rural town, there are still things you can experience. Local post offices will have information about the town and nearby places to explore.

Take local transport in a town or city and avoid the tourist traps. See how people live when they are not in the spotlight for sightseers.

By knowing what is around where you are staying, you get to see more of what it is like to live in this part of the world. It can also give you landmarks to find your way back if you go further to explore than initially planned.

Avoid What You Know

It’s so easy to seek out the nearest McDonalds or other Western fast food restaurants, as that is what we are used to. Or big shopping malls because they are familiar and you feel safe there.

By intentionally looking for what you are used to, you miss out on everything this new place offers, which can only worsen the homesickness and culture shock.

Talk To People

Ask questions about the local history, the people in the area, what people enjoy for entertainment, agriculture, and anything at all. The more you ask, the more you can learn. It also allows you to make connections and friends, especially if your study abroad program lasts more than one or two weeks.

One thing that helps combat culture shock is finding a local coffee shop where people like to hang out. It not only allows you to speak the language, but you can meet new people and try the local food and drinks.

Something that helps you feel more at ease and that you would typically do at home goes a long way in helping you settle in a new place. You can immerse yourself and combat culture shock and homesickness all at once.

Attend Local Events

Before you go, look up what events and festivals may be happening when you are there.

There are so many things that people in other cultures celebrate that you may not be used to, so getting a little knowledge beforehand will help. Still, there is nothing like attending a festival of any size to get a sense of the country, its values, pride and history.

While you don’t have to create a float and join a parade, taking part can be simply attending, buying local souvenirs or sampling the street food, but just immersing yourself in the fun, colours, music, and people will help you to get a new appreciation for the culture.

Know Before You Go

Do a little research about where you are going before you go. There may be some hidden gems you didn’t know about, which will help prepare you for the journey ahead.

Google some of the more interesting facts about where you will prepare yourself, and this will help you enjoy the experience, and you will find that embracing the culture is a lot easier.

Global Summers Academy is the expert in studying abroad. With an exciting range of programs to explore, they can prepare you for the journey ahead.

With instructors who know the country and customs, they are the best people to turn to for a fully immersive, inclusive and exhilarating learning experience. Call today at 1.844.357.2621 or fill out the online form, and we will reach out to answer all your questions.

We look forward to learning with you soon!