Written by Katherine Foreman
When I decided to do my third year of university in London, the thought of experiencing ‘culture shock’ didn’t cross my mind. Sure, I sat through plenty of preparation meetings as my guidance counsellor flashed around her standard U-curve diagram outlining the various stages of acclimating to a new culture, but I wasn’t paying attention. “It happens to everyone,” she iterated and reiterated as I stared blankly at the wall behind her, imagining the brown-brick flat I’d wake up to everyday in Marylebone.
It’s a commonality for students going abroad for lengthy periods of time to underestimate the extent to which they’ll be affected by changes to their environment and daily life, however subtle. It’s also vastly common, as it was in my case, for students to assume they know much more about the culture they’re entering than they do in actuality.