What would you do to become culturally competent before going to study abroad?

Talk to people who have been to the country: Getting in touch with people who have been to the country is a step towards becoming familiar with people's lives and their way of life. Maintain excellent communication: Learning to maintain good communication is also a step towards cultural competence. The first thing you'll want to do is research your destination. Talk to people you know who have visited the country, read travel guides, and look for tips and advice on your university's website.

In some cultures, you are rarely alone and many translations of the word “privacy” have a negative connotation of being isolated. Not only will you get used to the culture of your study abroad destination, but you'll also be surrounded by other international students from around the world. It can also be useful to learn the cultural etiquette and values of the country in which you are going to study. Learning some basic aspects of the country's history, politics and national events and knowing the weather conditions can help you adapt culturally to your new home.

It can be helpful to talk about all aspects of studying abroad so that you can share the experience of adjusting to a new culture with people who are in similar situations. Talking about local culture and ways to overcome culture shock can help you better understand the country and its residents, which will benefit your stay abroad. Living in a new country and adapting to a new culture doesn't mean you have to change your own customs and values. To learn another culture, it's imperative that you recognize and understand your own cultural values and norms.

Once the initial honeymoon phase wears off, the dissonance between native and host cultures begins to appear more pronounced and a sense of alienation can engender. Other cultures are more concerned with “saving appearances” and may say something in an indirect way or put a more positive spin on the situation to save appearances. Feelings of culture shock are inevitable, but recognizing their existence and knowing them in advance will help you prepare to accept temporary discomfort and learn more from the experience. Being aware of the imminent change that is inevitable when entering another culture is the first step to cultural adjustment.

It is home to a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds, not to mention individual differences influenced by geography, socioeconomic conditions, education, vocation, religion, and cultural heritage. If you're concerned about anti-American sentiment, check out the Glimpse Foundation's following cultural adaptation guide, titled “American Identity Abroad,” which aims to help students studying abroad address the difficult issues surrounding being citizens of the world's only superpower.

Simon Gooch
Simon Gooch

"Simon Gooch is a seasoned professional with a passion for transforming the landscape of international education. With over two decades of experience in the education industry, he has excelled in roles that encompass student recruitment, market development, and educational consulting. Currently serving as the Global Sales Director for ELS Educational Services, Inc., Simon's commitment to expanding educational access is evident in his work overseeing agent sales worldwide, with a particular focus on ELS centers across the USA. His career journey also includes founding Seed Educational Consulting Ltd, a B2B and B2C agency dedicated to helping students from Africa pursue higher education opportunities in various countries. Simon's strong leadership, exceptional agent relationship management, and proficiency in opening new and emerging markets have played pivotal roles in his successful career.Simon's academic background further strengthens his expertise, holding a First-Class degree in French and Modern European Studies from the University of East Anglia. His specialties lie in customer relationship management with a clear focus on agents, parents/students, and university partners. Simon's remarkable track record in developing emerging markets, particularly in Russia, the Middle East, and Africa, showcases his ability to drive consistent and long-term growth in these regions. With a deep commitment to educational access and international collaboration, Simon Gooch continues to make a significant impact in the field of international education."

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