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?
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!
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!
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