Dealing with Cultural Shock Abroad – A Nepalese Student Perspective
Nepalese students have been studying abroad in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many more countries for over 5 decades. The trend seems to grow rapidly after the 2006 Nepalese revolution. In the pre COVID era, an average of 50,000/year Nepalese students went to study abroad as per Ministry of Education No Objection Letter data. With the increasing trend of leaving home, homesickness among Nepalese students abroad has been a major problem these days. It includes the shockwave of a different environment, interacting with lots of new people and learning the ways of a different country. Furthermore, leaving loved ones at home can be a nightmare for those who have never been out of their comfort zone. With the right procedures, and actions; culture shock and homesickness can be minimized. The following tips can be useful for Nepalese students:
Talk to people
Nepalese students are generally shy, and defensive. If you are abroad, most universities will have counselling services that students can turn to for advice and support on how to deal with your feelings. If you have pre-existing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression, homesickness may trigger these so talking your concerns over with someone may help to keep those in check. Homesickness could also lead to these conditions so try to monitor your feelings as best as you can. Nepalease students should not worry about their grammar, and pronunciation. Foreigners understand you if you speak clearly, and concisely.
Stay in touch by phone and email.
Young Nepalese students are active in Social Media Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok. Regular contact and calls via these platforms calls can just reinforce a person’s sense of homesickness or isolation. Calling less frequently, once or twice a week, may actually help to reduce feelings of homesickness. A subscription to a favorite magazine or local Nepali motivational newspapers can also help counter the vacant feeling of closeness. Furthermore, there are great websites such as https://pustakalaya.org/en/, https://thuprai.com/ for selection of good Nepali books most of them are free ebooks. Using online media platforms to connect with parents, and friends helps a lot. However, over-use of these platforms leads to addiction which results in significant impairment in an individual's function for long periods of time.
Get Involved in Campus activities
The trend to involve in regular volunteering activities has been increasing in Nepal. However, these activities are limited at the local level. Once abroad, there is a pool of activities available to Nepalese students which gives them an international exposure. International universities conduct regular activities such as international dinner, concerts, movie nights, open mic events in the spots, informative lectures, community events and more. International office has all of the information which can also be found on posters around campus, the television screens on the Forum and on Facebook event pages. Keep an eye on them. With a unique habit to study hard during exam time, Nepalese students should take a break from their long study or work day to learn something new and meet like minded people during those activities.
Make a new hobby in Nepal before flying abroad
Most Nepalese students work part time while studying abroad for pocket money, and living costs. Working and studying all day is exhausting. Students who have been granted student visas should plan to take up a hobby which can be used abroad to avoid cultural shock, anxiety, and homesickness. Some of the best hobbies can be playing guitar, baking pastries, yoga, cycling, gym, or even learning a new language. During exam time, it can be relaxing when you are involved in a hubby you develop. Further, setting time aside for students to do an activity they enjoy helps them feel down from stress, exhaustion, and even depression.
Generally, a student in Nepal lives with parents with an open neighbourhood. A typical neighbourhood in Nepal consists of frequent interactions with various houses. However, a neighbourhood abroad can be shocking as most two houses interact less, sometimes act as a stranger. Hence, a brand-new neighborhood can feel daunting at first, but instead of focusing on how unfamiliar it all is, take control and start exploring. Try new restaurants, look for museums and art galleries, attend local sports clubs, and buy at local small businesses. There are all kinds of interesting things to explore in a new community.