Culture shock of students in Sweden, Scandinavia and abroad, in general
Do not think that the culture shock will pass you by!
Culture shock is a psychological transition (it can also be physical – such as changes in body weight) caused by a change in the usual way of life and / or cultural environment. It is most often observed during a long stay away from home. As a future student in Scandinavia, and in Sweden in particular, you will certainly go through it. The variations of the culture shock are very individual. They depend on the nature of the situation in which the particular person finds themselves, on the experiences and changes in their character and behavior, on the tasks for which they are responsible, on their adaptive, social and communicative abilities, etc.
Culture shock can be divided into four stages:
- Enthusiasm – occurs immediately upon arrival in the new environment – Scandinavia, Sweden. Enthusiasm covers the period when everything is still new and unknown: different culture, habits, food, lifestyle, climate, etc. This is usually the shortest phase (lasts about 3-4 weeks).
- Poisoning – this is the worst of the four stages. The transition occurs when all the things that initially aroused enthusiasm begin to irritate the student. In other words – everything other than home. This phase can last months or even a few years, if not tackled effectively!
- Getting used to – the duration of this stage is slightly longer than that of the first phase. This is probably the most enjoyable phase. Things that until recently bothered the student are gradually changing. He / she begins to interact with the locals, adopt their customs and become part of the local culture.
- Multicultural person – the duration of this stage is strictly individual, as it refers to the complete transformation of each person. The student becomes a friendly and understanding person. At the same time, it encodes its own culture, and each time a student returns to their homeland, they can easily switch back to it.
Reverse culture shock
It usually occurs during the student’s first return home after a long stay abroad. The collision with their own culture is again a confusing (stressful) moment and they go through the above stages, but for shorter periods and with less intensity. It is only after the completion of this last fifth stage of the “reverse culture shock” that the student becomes a true multicultural figure.
How to deal with culture shock?
- Focus on your goals. Why did you come to Sweden or Scandinavia? Many students have been in your situation and experienced the culture shock. This is completely normal.
- Evaluate your experience – what were your reactions to Sweden, the Swedes, student life? If you are confused and frustrated, ask yourself, “What can I expect? Why? Are my expectations justified or are they rather unrealistic and exaggerated? ”
- Be open to differences and changes. People in Sweden behave differently in certain situations to which you are used to reacting differently. Remember that you are the foreigners in their country and you have to adapt to them, not vice versa – they don’t need to change at all. Try not to judge people, but rather try to learn from their different behaviors.
- Learn Swedish! It is your MAIN weapon in your battle against the culture shock. We know from experience that you will not want to practice the language, but without it it will be difficult to adapt in the way you really deserve!
- Be in frequent contact with your family, relatives and friends.
- Eat healthy food and exercise! As students in Sweden, you will have the opportunity to join fitness centers at very low prices – the monthly pass costs 150 SEK. Sport and in particular movement have an extremely positive effect on the human psyche.
- Connect and chat with other international students in Sweden.
- Learn from your own experience – living abroad offers an incredible opportunity to get to know other people’s and your own attitudes and values, which will greatly expand your horizons.
- If you feel the need to share your experiences with someone, you can talk to the student counselor at your university.
Keep in touch!
Parents whose children study abroad often think the worst, so be sure to keep in touch with your parents on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if you use a phone, email or Skype, it’s important that they know you’re okay.
We believe that the education in Sweden will be the most amazing and successful experience for you, but also for your parents, who will certainly be proud that you have successufully endured everything you are about to come across! If you have additional questions, just contact us.