13 Ways to Adapt to a New Culture When Studying Abroad

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How to Adapt to a New Culture When Studying Abroad

How to Adapt to a New Culture when Studying Abroad—Studying abroad already feels a bit overwhelming, but adapting to your culture doesn’t need to be. Explore the best practical tips that will help you find your groove and make a smooth move.

Do your research

Learning about the culture before you arrive can help you feel more prepared and less intimidated. Ask your university if there is a student you can connect with who can help you learn more about the culture, or look for online forums and articles. Maybe try connecting with your roommate, if he/she is a domestic student, to learn more about the norms. Read books, watch films, and talk to people who have already been there.

Be open-minded

It can be easy to make assumptions about a new culture based on your own cultural biases. Remember, there are over 50 commonly spoken languages on Earth, spoken by over 7 billion people, from over 190 countries. Try to go into your study abroad experience with an open mind, and be willing to accept that there may be different ways of doing things that are just as valid as your own.

Be patient

If you have never traveled outside your country, or region, before, then things may be a little overwhelming at first. Remember that culture shock is real, and it can take some time to adjust to a new way of life. If you’re experiencing culture shock, don’t worry – studies show that as many as one in five international students experience this when first exposed to their new study abroad experience. Give yourself time to settle in and get used to your new surroundings.

Make friends with locals

One of the best ways to learn about a culture is to befriend someone who lives there. This could be as simple as your roommate, your RA (i.e. resident assistant), your lab partner, or the random boy or girl who sits next to you in class. Through your experiences with them, they will introduce you to new customs, food, and music, and help you navigate your new home.

Be ready to change

Don’t go into your new experience with too many preconceptions. “It’s going to be like this” or “How different can it be”. Most international students struggle because they are unwilling or unable to change. Before you leave, prepare yourself mentally to be willing to try new things and to see things from a different perspective.

Set expectations

Adjusting to a new culture can take time. If you expect everything to be perfect or to always understand what’s going on right away, then you are most likely going to be in for a rude awakening. Simply watching a movie or reading a book about a country will only give you so much information. As they say, you never know how cold the water is until you jump in the pool. So prepare yourself to jump, and give yourself time to settle in and to learn.

Be flexible

Things may not always go according to plan when you’re in a new place. Sometimes things may take longer than you expected. Or it may be a little harder for you to adjust than it was for your friends or your family members. That’s fine – we all move at our own pace. Be prepared for changes, be flexible, and go with the flow.

Be respectful

Remember that you are a guest in a new culture. Show respect for the customs and traditions of the people you are visiting. This may involve euphemisms in the language, certain food preferences, or particular mannerisms involving hospitality. Whatever it may be, remember to always be respectful.

Be aware of your own cultural biases

We all have them! Try to be conscious of your own cultural lens and how it might be affecting your interactions with people from a different background.


Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to admit when you don’t understand something. Good communication is key to successful cross-cultural interactions.

Seek out opportunities to connect

During your time studying abroad, look for ways to connect with the local community. Join clubs or organizations, volunteer, or take part in cultural events.

Be true to yourself

At the end of the day, you are still you! Don’t try to completely change who you are to fit in. Be confident in your own identity and values.

Have fun

Studying abroad can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Enjoy it! Embrace the adventure and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Dip yourself in the Self-help Guide

What I mean is, Imagine you’re in a cozy cafe or a Park, pen in hand with your journal open in front of you. You jot down all the little details of your day’s sights, the sounds, and the emotions bubbling up inside you. Maybe you write about that funny encounter with a local, or how you struggled to order your favorite dish in the local language.

Every entry is like a snapshot of your growth, capturing the highs and lows of your adventure.

But journaling isn’t just about documenting your experiences; it’s also about self-reflection. It’s like holding up a mirror to yourself and asking “ How am I changing? What am I learning about myself” Maybe realized that you’re more adaptable than you thought, or perhaps you uncover the hidden strengths in the face of challenges.

And the best part? When you look back on your entries months or years from now, you’ll see how far you have come and how much you have evolved as a person.

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1. What is the Best way to adopt to New culture?

The best way to adopt to a new culture is to adopt to new culture is to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Engage with locals, immerse yourself in cultural activities and be respectful of customs and traditions.

2. How can you prepare yourself for cultural differences before you leave?

You can prepare yourself for cultural differences before you leave by researching the host country’s culture, learning basic language skills, understanding cultural norms, and mentally preparing for potential differences in lifestyle and social customs.

3. What before hand practice to adapt to new culture studying abroad?

Beforehand practices to adapt to a new culture while studying abroad include attending orientation programs, Participating in language courses, engaging with international communities and familiarizing yourself with local customs and etiquette.

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Jaipreet Kaur

Jaipreet Kaur

I've had the opportunity to learn more about the educational systems of many various countries thanks to my 13 years of experience in this subject. This involves coordinating applicants, keeping in touch with students, answering their inquiries, and counselling them about studying abroad.

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