When you arrive in Canada to participate in an ESL in Montreal course, you have many adjustments to make. Some of the biggest differences are: food, social customs, schedules, and language. It is normal to experience Culture Shock. Here is some information to help you through this challenging, but exciting time.
There are usually 4 stages of Culture Shock. Everyone spends different amounts of time in each stage.
The honeymoon stage: Differences are interesting. You feel excited and curious.
The shock stage: The differences begin to affect you. You may feel confused, unconfident or lonely. Frustration and anger can also be a result of Culture Shock. You may start to dislike or be annoyed by some of the differences you see in Canadian culture.
The negotiation stage: You learn to deal with the problems of cultural difference. You begin to see the similarities to your culture and you start to accept the differences.
Acceptance: You are able to live well in your new environment.
When experiencing culture shock, you may demonstrate many, some or none of these symptoms: feeling angry, being lonely, feeling like you want to be alone, extreme homesickness, overeating or loss of appetite, boredom, sleepiness, headaches, stomach aches and inexplicable crying.
When dealing with culture shock it is important to be patient and understanding with yourself. The first thing to tell yourself is that it’s normal! Be kind to yourself and understand that you will feel better as you learn and adjust to living in Canada!
Some suggestions to dealing with culture shock are:
Keeping Active: Don’t stay in your room, get out and experience Canadian culture first-hand. Spend time with your homestay family or friends. Get involved in EC’s Activities programme. Watch and learn how Canadian customs are practiced.
Talk!: Talk to your homestay family, other students and EC’s office staff. Ask questions! This will help provide you with the information and comfort you need to get through this time of change.
Keep in touch: Write letters or call your family in your home country regularly. Talking to someone familiar can make you feel better, and may encourage them when they’re feeling homesick. But don’t spend too much time thinking about home, you also need to spend time making the most of your stay in Canada!
Exercise: Find an enjoyable physical activity. Exercising will help to reduce stress and depression.
Remember that the EC Montreal team is here for you! If you are feeling any of the above symptoms, please let us know what we can do to help!