Culture Shock | UL International Education Division
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Culture Shock

Moving to a new place can be overwhelming. It is very normal to feel that way and is commonly known as ‘culture shock’. Knowing the early signs of culture shock can help you manage it and adjust to a new culture.

What is culture shock?

Not everyone will experience culture shock. It can be experienced in different ways. Some effects of culture shock can be physical, like headaches, stress or loss of appetite. Some effects are psychological, such as feeling sad, feeling like an outsider, or not being able to concentrate

What can cause culture shock?

You may find the Irish accent can be difficult to understand at first.

Check out this UL student's Guide to Irish Lingo, and these 28 Irish slang terms you need to know!

During the winter there are not many hours of daylight. This can make you feel a bit sad, especially if you come from a sunny climate, but even locals can experience this.

Check out this UL student's 10 ways to survive the Irish weather!

and these ways to survive a rainy day in Ireland

The way people dress here might be different from what you are used to. You don't have to adopt the same style. You should wear clothes that keep you warm and dry during the winter.

Tip: Despite the rainy weather here in Ireland, rain boots are not commonly worn, so if you don't want to stand out, save the space in your suitcase and leave them at home!

What to pack for study abroad - 

Food and mealtimes may be different to what you are used to. There are lots of shops here where you can buy food that is more familiar to you. See our 'Shopping' section for information about ethnic supermarkets.

Check out the Food section of our student blog! 

People may act more familiarly, or more formally, than you are used to.

Irish People: Generous and Helpful - by UL Student Danyal Maheshwari

You will be expected to be on time for lectures and tutorials, meetings with staff members, and other appointments. Punctuality at social events is often less formal and is not always expected. 

How can I manage culture shock?

If you do experience culture shock, remember that it is completely normal and many people experience it. It is temporary, and can be managed - some good ways to cope with culture shock are to:

  • Contact your family and friends at home often 
  • Make food from your home country, and eat healthy food
  • Take some exercise - the Centre for Sport and Exercise offers a range of activities, or you could simply go for a walk around this beautiful city
  • Meet with other students and local people - the International Student Centre is a great place to attend events and meet new people
  • Take advantage of new experiences - learning about a new culture can make you more aware of your own, and give you skills and confidence that will stay with you for life
  • Ask for help - remember that we are happy to help you, and it is normal to ask for help or to talk with support staff at the University