Culture shock is a lot harder to deal with than most people think. I used to be one of those people. My friend A & I were talking the other day just about this subject. Culture Shock. Sure, I still live in a Western Country, therefore my values aren’t too far off from French peoples values. However, when one first arrives in a new country for undetermined amount of time [such as me] you find yourself excited and ready to explore, you find yourself scared [especially if there is a language barrier]
My friend A was explaining to me that culture shock is like the ocean… you first jump in & you are so excited and it’s all fun and games… then you find yourself struggling in the currents of everyday life… then you realize again what an opportunity you have and its back to the fun… then you start missing running, jumping, walking on solid land rather than swimming. This is the best metaphor I can come up with to explain the ups & downs. Life is still life even if you are in France or if you are in the States. You still have the everyday worries, the responsibilities; they are just slightly different than where you once lived.
One thing is true though; studying abroad will change someone’s life drastically. It changes the way you think, the way you interact with people, and the language you speak, the way you express yourself. It’s quite crazy.
I miss home, friends & family but would never take back this opportunity. I’ve had an amazing time so far and this is just the halfway point. I can’t wait to see what else I learn.