GET READY BEFORE EMBARKING IN THE ADVENTURE
Training module 5
Upon completion, you will understand the up and down emotions of getting used to a new culture, know how to set boundaries for an easier transition
TRANSITION & BEING READY FOR IT!
When living abroad, it is normal to experience emotional ups and downs. Culture shock doesn't occur because the difference of living in a new place becomes overwhelming. It is when dozens of tiny differences overwhelm your sense of familiarity. Some are big differences. The time zones, sleep schedules, and food are different. Some are small simple differences. Some students don't feel culture shock, but some do. You may experience a number of feelings, sadness, anxiety, or stress are common. These feelings may last a few days, a week, or more.
The good news is, everyone gets through these feelings and when you do, you will have transitioned to being culturally strong in one culture to becoming culturally strong in two cultures! This is a very valuable transition!
YOU WILL GROW PERSONALLY DURING YOUR YEAR ABROAD
One of the greatest values of your time in America is how you will grow personally. By challenging yourself to assimilate into a new culture, you will become able to handle many greater challenges in your future. In a year, five years, or twenty years from now, you will have great memories of your year in the United States but you may value most how you have grown personally. You will be stronger and more able to accomplish your future goals and dreams. Your time in the United States is a valuable step to your future development. A critical component:
Working Through the Transition to Your New Culture
HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Changing your social network, your friend network, your support network from being in your home country to your new home (for the year) in the United States. This doesn't mean that you cut ties completely with your friends or family, but you should set limits on how much you communicate with them.
Prepare your parents and friends back home that you'll connect with them once a week and assimilate with your new friends and host family. Your home family will always be your home family, but while you're in the United States, make it your home.
YOUR BIG TRANSITION
THE WAY YOU WILL USE YOUR ELECTRONICS IS IMPORTANT
We have so many ways to keep ties with home and friends, consider limiting the access to optimize your exchange experience.
HEAR ABOUT GEORGE'S MISTAKE WITH USING HIS CELL'S
Twenty years ago, students transitioned faster and with fewer challenges than they do today. Can you guess why? Because it's so easy to stay connected back home.
In baseball, a runner must go from first base to second base, to third base, and then to home base in order to make a run. They must leave first base in order to get to second base. Sometimes, an exchange student has trouble leaving home and with the hindrance of being constantly connected back home on Instagram, Tik Tok, Snap Chat, FaceBook, Skype, or WhatsApp, the student never leaves first base in order to get to second base. The problem isn't the technology, it's that the student didn't set boundaries with the technology.
What do you use to connect with friends in your home country? Friends in the United States will use social media to connect with each other too. Here's what we recommend:
Before you leave for the school year, message all of your friends and family that you will be gone for the next 10 months and will have limited time to connect with them on social media. Let them know that you can't wait to tell them all about your experience when you get home or at scheduled times.
Set up new social media accounts after you arrive in the United States. Learn which social media platforms other students are using and then get connected with them through these channels. You can give yourself a new American name or your new friends may even give you an American nick-name. Tong Yang Wu chose Terry. Max kept Max. Only use these accounts with the apps on your phone, not the accounts that you used back home. Don't worry, they'll be there when you get back.
Use social media to collect dozens or hundreds of friends in the United States. Since you're new, people will love to friend you or follow you.
KEEPING TOUCH WITH HOME REMAINS CRUCIAL
On the opposite, we do encourage you to have regular contact with your parents and familly.
GEORGE & LUKAS SHARE GOOD IDEAS ABOUT HOW THEY CONNECT WITH MOM & DAD
THE TROUBLE OF NOT SETTING SCREEN BOUNDARIES
Some students want to retain all of their relationships back home. One student was up until 2 AM, chatting back home with his European friends who were on their way to school. Exhausted and crabby, he didn't make friends well in the United States.
While were on the subject of screen boundaries, we need to bring up the topic of pornography. It may or may not be acceptable in your country, but pornography is very unacceptable in American culture. Never take pictures of yourself or others without clothes on for any reason, it's culturally inappropriate in the United States.
Be careful of what you post on social media. It's against the law to drink alcohol under the age of 21 in the United States. One student posted a picture with friends having beer in their hands. He had just turned 18. While it was normal for someone his age to drink beer in his home country, it is illegal in the United States. The student was sent home.
A final boundary is around the amount of screens people use. The internet is mostly the same experience wherever you go. Being present to your new culture, new friends, and your new host family is an experience you don't want to miss by having your eyes glued a screen.
YOU WILL LIVE A DIFFERENT LIFE AND EXPERIENCE MANY NEW EXPERIENCES
In this excellent video, Laura shows many fantastic experiences she had on her exchange in the United States.