Culture Shock and Coping with Homesickness
Many of the experiences we have as individuals are experienced by our peers – its just that most of us try and hide the struggles we are going through! Most people who move into Res will feel some form of culture shock – for some it will be mild and over quickly, and for others it will take more time and effort. Read on to see how it applies to you.
Whenever someone moves to a new place (and culture), they experience to some level the following phases:
Phase 1 – Honeymoon
In this initial phase you may see the differences between the old and new culture in a romantic light. It may be exciting to have new experiences – whether it is new food, night life, or just general everyday activities. This is great fun – but doesn't last forever.
Phase 2- Negotiation
This usually kicks in a few weeks after your arrival. At this stage the novelty of your new environment has started to wear off. The differences may now in fact irritate as opposed to excite. At this stage it is common for you to experience some anxiety and depression about your situation. You may also start to think of ‘back home’ in a less critical way than you did when you were there (thinking home was ‘perfect’ and ignoring anything ‘annoying’ about it). It is good to remember the great aspects of where you are from – but try and focus also on the amazing opportunity your new experiences are offering you!
Phase 3 – Adjustment
This can take some time can take to kick in. However you will be accustomed to the new culture as well as an established routine. At this stage you will accept the changes, and return to ‘normal’. You new life will have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts to it – and you will accept these and begin to thrive in your new environment.
Phase 4 – Reverse Culture Shock
This may happen when you return home as you have been away from your home environment for a great length of time. You may feel some similar feelings to those from Phase 2 – but about ‘home’ rather than Res!
Just remember that it is perfectly normal to experience culture shock – and to miss your ‘home’ (regardless of if you move from the other side of the world, a rural region of Australia, or even another city or town in Victoria). There are a few ways to overcome your initial feelings.
- Why not visit a member of the Residential Support Team (any of the Resident Advisors – RAs), your College Head, Deputy Head or Residential Support Assistant (RSA)?
They are there to help you. The members of the team have already spent a substantial amount of time living here. You will be able to express to them the troubles you are having, and they may be able to explain habits that are foreign to you. They will also be able to help you connect with other residents, and make a new group of friends.
- Get involved in Res activities
Meet new people (make new friends) and discover that everyone is feeling the same as you. It takes a bit of effort to ‘put yourself out there’, but is absolutely worth it.
- Stay in contact with family and friends back home
One of the best things about having super fast (and free!) internet is using VOIP, Skype, Face time (you name it) to keep in contact with the people you care about back home. Ask them to send you items which help you bring your home to Res (pictures or special items) to help make your new home your new home.
- Join University Clubs
If you are missing something specific (cultural) from home, then chances are Monash University has a club or social group which is dedicated to that: it could be your favourite sport, a cultural club with lots of people from your home country, a religious group or or even a hobby – check out Monash Clubs and Societies or Monash Sport for just a taste of what is on offer. Whether it is a social club, or some sort of sporting club, you will be around those with similar interests, allowing you to settle in.
Don't just sit in your room - let people know how you are feeling, and we promise you will find everyone will understand and want to help!
For more information on campus specific sporting teams, or clubs and societies, try some of these sites:
Monash Uni Sport Clubs
Clubs and Societies (Clayton)
MONSU Clubs (Caulfield)
MONSU Clubs (Peninsula)