Cultural Personal Experience
I was 17, when I came to the city of Perth, Australia for the first time. I decided to participate in an international students exchange program, thus had to move to a foreign city for a few months to attend high school and live there with my new host family. The trip made me extremely excited with everything. When the plane landed on the Australian continent, I was so happy about my arrival since I have been planning to go abroad for many years. Although my classmates took part in the preparatory meeting, no preparation could avoid the culture shock I experienced. Many individuals usually confuse culture shock with a sense of homesickness, despair, confusion, and discomfort before adapting to the foreign traditions and culture. For me, culture shock was much more than words.
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During the first days of my visit to Perth, I was happy to meet people from the other culture and integrate into Australian everyday life. I experienced various cultural aspects including the way the residents of Perth live and interacted with other students on various themes such as music, national food, and clothing that seemed new and exotic. However, the things that I was going to experience soon, did not last forever. After one month of my stay in Perth, I started to feel odd since varieties became more visible to me. I missed family, friends and frustrating thougts significantly populated me. I wanted the Australian public transportation to work the same way as it operates at home.
Feelings of anxiety seized me from nowhere. Homesickness dominated most evenings. Initial feelings of exhilaration started to transform into the constant feelings of frustration and disorientation. Over the next few weeks, feelings of belonging and adaptation replaced feelings of homesickness. I created my own routine and learned how to adapt to the stressful situations through a variety of techniques. I made friends with many people, who introduced me to a new culture. Later, they became a second family for me. Moreover, I learned what to expect in many cases, and tried to adapt my own behavior and appreciate a new way of thinking. With no doubts, my mind needed recovery after encountering many challenges throughout the day such as attending school, wearing specific uniform, making friends with Australian students, observing differences, adapting my behavior, and analyzing the residents of Perth as well as their attitudes and behavior.
I have almost adapted to the new environment and many things started to make sense to me. I understood the new culture better with the help of my new school and family members in Perth. I consider it as a breakthrough for me as a foreigner. Every day, I felt comfortable in the new enviironment and adapted numerous new traits while keeping my American ones. Without any exaggeration, I will refer myself to the person, who has a second nationality. The happiest moment was when my friends once remarked that I finally transformed from a silent timid American who could hardly maintain communication to the bicultural Australian-American personality.
The effects of culture shock are inevitable, and acceptance of the new culture is a fundamental step toward adapting to a new environment. There were many things that helped me deal with cultural varieties. I made friends with my peers and tried to talk all the time, even when making mistakes. I remember how to deal with stressful situations at home and tried to apply my methods during my trip to Perth. Sports, talking to my new friends, and yoga helped me a lot in the adaptation to the new environment. I realized that it was important to be positive and see good aspects in everything around since negative thoughts could quickly pull me down. I remember to laugh at myself or whatever frustrate me since humor helps people be happier in every situation. If one manages to acquire intercultural skills during the cultural shock being abroad, the previous feelings of anxiety and disconnection are worth it. Thus, if individuals take part in the exchange programs, they would live in a peaceful and understanding world.
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