Your student, no matter how prepared he or she may be, will encounter the four stages of culture shock. Please speak with your student about culture shock. More extensive descriptions are provided in the Pre-Departure Handbook.
These are the four stages of culture shock:
- Euphoria: Everything is new and exciting.
- Irritation and Hostility: It is no longer exciting living in a foreign place.
- Gradual Adjustment: Student begins to adjust, and attitude toward local country and people improves.
- Adaptation: Complete recovery once he or she can approach the overseas culture with confidence. Attitude has changed, and student accepts new environment as another way of living.
It is extremely important for you to understand these stages of culture shock, so that when your student shows symptoms you will be able to provide assistance if necessary. Parents and close friends are strong influences on a student's experiences. When students are homesick, it is sometimes up to you to provide a comforting ear and offer suggestions.
What can you do to help?
- Mail: Send mail (real mail). Everyone likes to get mail!
- Letters, cards, and packages: Some parents send out the address of their student to family members and friends. That way, your student can keep connected.
- Packages: They can get expensive. You don't have to mail Mountain Dew; however, small packages with a pack of chewing gum or pictures of the dog, etc., are a great little reminder that you're thinking of them.