Tips to prepare yourself for a new Culture while Studying Abroad
Posted on: February 22 2019, By : Ayush Varhadi
Studying abroad is an exciting prospect, but it can be a little intimidating, particularly if you’re under-prepared. We’re going to look at how you can adapt to your new academic culture and make the most of it. One thing’s for sure, you’re going to have a unique experience and create plenty of memories.
You have limited time and want to maximize your experience. Unfortunately, some tourist sites do little to help you better understand the country you are studying abroad in .Just because your study abroad program will be brief, doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the opportunity to walk away with a deep understanding of the local culture. Read on to learn how to maximize cultural immersion during your short term study abroad program.
Learn social niceties BEFORE you arrive.
Commit to memory how to say "Good morning," "Good afternoon," "Good evening," "Hello," "Thank You," "You're welcome" "I'm sorry," and "Excuse me." You could go even further if you're really into learning the language.
It's important to learn the proper greetings used in your study abroad destination. The locals will be more responsive to you, and genuinely appreciate the effort you make to interact with them, even in through these surface-level societal norms.
Break away from the group when you can.
Whenever you have the opportunity, seek a more solo-experience. Have lunch alone, walk behind the group at the museum. Get a taste of what it would be like to be in this country as a lone traveler. Locals tend to be intimidated by big groups of foreigners (who wouldn't be?!); this small act will maximize your chances of having a cool, impactful, and unexpected interaction with a man or woman (or cute little kid!) from the country you're studying abroad in.
Avoid private transport.
I know there are few things more appealing than a crowded bus or a stinky train, but there is intrinsic value in separating yourself from the comfort of private transport when you can. Observe the ways the locals travel from place to place and adopt it; bicycle taxi, anyone?
There's no better way to turn a place from foreign to familiar than by traversing it on foot. Veer off the main road to the side alleys and streets for a more authentic look at how the locals go about their day-to-day lives.
See that mama hand washing her laundry, and those small children running with tires? Check out that group of teens taking selfies with their phones. Exposing yourself to the everyday lives of locals will give you a better grasp of their culture. And who knows, maybe they will invite you in for a cup of chai!
Visit a local museum.
And we don't mean skim through a museum going "ooh" and "aah" from artifact to artifact. Dig deep! Take the time to walk slowly. Read the facts that are presented. Interpret them, and take notes in a small journal about particularly interesting or fascinating cultural tidbits. Maximize your opportunities for cultural learning.(HR Recruitment firm in mumbai)
Watch documentaries or read books related to the culture prior to arrival.
Put those Netflix marathons to good use by trading in your everyday comedic sitcom for documentaries pertaining to your study abroad destination. Ask your program advisors or resident directors for book recommendations.
Put the camera away.
A camera automatically creates a divide between you and locals, as it quickly identifies you as a tourist. Psychologically, it might subconsciously fuel a sense of "visiting" versus participating in a new way of life. Look with your own eyes rather than always through the camera lens. Look at what's around you as a way of life rather than something constantly in need of being photographed.
Everything around you is interesting.
Yup, it sure is! If you allow yourself to soak up every last bit of your surroundings, even the stuff that might initially strike you as "weird," "inefficient," "frustrating," or "repulsive," you will set yourself up for the learning experience of a lifetime.
Below are some helpful approaches that anthropologists use when they observe another culture:
• Observe, listen and describe rather than try to prove your preconceived notions.
• Try to be objective, but recognize that the filter of your own culture will always affect what you see.
• Be persistent in asking questions and learn to ask the kinds of questions that elicit answers. Listen actively to the answers you get. Ask for feedback if you are not sure you understand.( education consultants in mumbai)
• Try to maintain a certain detachment. Practice being a participant and an observer at the same time, taking part in an activity while you stand back from it to observe others and your own reactions.
• Interact with diverse groups of local people, both young and old, to get a varied perspective on the culture.
• Be prepared to engage with locals on a number of conversation topics, but be aware that certain topics may not be considered appropriate.
• Develop positive, respectful relationships, being mindful of cultural differences and taboos. Remember that you are representing your nation, your university.
• Practice your language skills without being afraid of making mistakes because they can be a great way to learn.(HR Generalised training in Mumbai)
• Take part in university, college or community groups like language clubs, sports clubs, book clubs, churches, or cooking classes. Cooking is a great way to share in local traditions. (Consider bringing a recipe from home to share as well).
• Attend cultural events that are not typically for tourists. Ask your local friends what events are of interest and importance to them.
• Avoid negative comparisons between your host and home countries. Food, religion, thought patterns and social habits may seem strange, but keep an open mind and allow yourself time to understand them.
• Consider keeping a journal so you can spend time reflecting on your daily encounters. This will help you deepen your understanding of your experiences and host culture.
• Above all, remember that this is the experience of a lifetime! Have fun and enjoy your opportunity to be a participant and not a tourist.
You can always take help from Top Study Abroad Consultant In Mumbai who will assist you with the admission and visa processes .Follow your curiosity, ask questions, and never settle for a surface level explanation. The world is interesting, your study abroad destination is special, and with the right perspective, it will come alive as you do.