Culture Shock of Students in Denmark, Scandinavia and Anywhere Abroad
Make no Mistake, you will experience the culture shock!
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 Denmark in particular, you will certainly go through it. The effects of the culture shock are very individual. They depend on the nature of the situation in which the particular person is, on the experiences and changes in his/her character and behavior, on the tasks for which he/she is responsible, on his/her adaptive, social and communicative abilities, etc.
The culture shock can be divided into four stages:
- Enthusiasm – it occurs immediately after the arrival in the new environment – Scandinavia, Denmark. Enthusiasm towards everything, although it is still new and unknown: different culture, habits, food, lifestyle, climate, etc. This is usually the shortest phase (lasts about 3-4 weeks or a few months).
- 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. It can last to a few months to several years! We experienced the culture shock for a total of 4 YEARS!
- Getting accustomed to – the duration of this stage is slightly longer than that of the first. 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, he/she carries within themselves their own encoded culture, and each time they return to their homeland, the student 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 his/her own culture is again a confusing (stressful) moment and he/she goes through the above stages, but for shorter periods and with less intensity. Only after the completion of this last fifth stage of the “reverse culture shock” the student becomes a true multicultural person.
How to deal with and overcome the culture shock?
- Focus on your goals. Why did you come to Denmark 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 Denmark, the Danes, the 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 the new and different things you will encounter. The people in Denmark behave differently in certain situations to which you are used to reacting in completely other way! Remember that you are foreigners in their country and you have to adapt to them, not they to you. Try not to judge them! You should rather try to learn from their different behaviors. Remember 2+2 = 4, but 3+1 is also 4!
- Study Danish! It is your MAIN weapon in your fight against the culture shock. We know from experience that you will not want to learn the language. You will think of thousand reasons not to! However, without the language it will be very difficult and almost impossible to integrate in Denmark. Trust us, you want to taste from the lifestyle of the “happiest people on earth!” Without speaking Danish, you won’t even touch that!
- Be in frequent contact with your family, relatives and friends.
- Eat healthy food and exercise! As students in Denmark, you will have the opportunity to join fitness centers at very low prices – a monthly pass costs 20 EURO. Sport and in particular movement have an extremely positive effect on the human psyche.
- Connect and chat with other international students in Denmark.
- 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 a student counselor at your university.
Stay 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 know from experience that the education in Denmark will be the most amazing and rewarding experience for you! Do share your new lifestyle with your parents. If you have additional questions, simply contact us.
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