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While You're Abroad

Culture Shock

Be prepared to undergo a fairly typical adjustment cycle during your stay; in other words, expect some ups and downs. You'll start out with a great deal of excitement; the host country seems to be the most fantastic place on earth, and you will be high with enthusiasm. After a while, the novelty will wear off, and you may feel lonely, frustrated, depressed, homesick, and irritable. You will complain about everything and everyone; you may wish you had never left home and long to be back in Rochester. Don't worry! Things will get better. The petty frustrations will disappear. As you complete your adjustment cycle, you will come to accept and then to enjoy everything, including the academics, food, drinks, habits, and customs of the host country. By the end of the term, you may not want to leave, and you will try to figure out how to get back again as soon as possible.

Required Reading

The "What's Up With Culture?" website was created by Dr. Bruce LaBrack, an anthropologist at the University of the Pacific in California. It is specifically designed for students traveling abroad. It is a wonderfully thorough, informative, engaging and interactive presentation about crossing cultural boundaries. If you're majoring in anthropology, you may already be familiar with some of this material; for all students, this is an essential crash course in cross-cultural communication and adjustment. If you find yourself at a low point when you're abroad, refer back to this site: it can help you understand some of the cultural complexities that may be making your life difficult.