Dealing with culture shock!
Once your programme starts, then you will begin to establish a work and life routine. After a few weeks you will be quite familiar with the university, your programme and your new town or city.
Most students are very comfortable at this stage and enjoy their life as a postgraduate student, but a small number may start to feel homesick, feeling they are a long way from home, family and friends. In particular you may feel that the strangeness of language, lifestyles and social interactions are very tiring and challenging.
There are a number of ways to try to cope with this feeling:
• Spend time with new friends and try to develop a good social life.
• Try to get a job, even if you do not desperately need the money – this will be interesting and enable you to meet people.
• Plan a trip. This could be a trip home at the end of your first term, or it might be a weekend trip to London or to see a friend at another university.
• Try to have at least one event each week to look forward to – meeting your friends, going to the cinema, or going for a walk.
• Do not speak with your family and friends at home too frequently. Hearing their voices might increase feelings of homesickness. Phone them once a week, perhaps.
• Keep in regular contact with family and friends by e-mail or text, or chat to them on-line.
• Talk to somebody about your feelings – your friends, your classmates, your tutor, the Student Union international officer. Most will understand how you feel (they may be feeling the same themselves!), and together you will cope with the challenge.
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