by Soph on 29/08/07 at 7:10 am
As a new TEFL teacher, you have prepared for the horrors of culture shock, you have just arrived in a new country and you are ready to put what you have learned into practice.
As a new TEFL teacher, you have prepared for the horrors of culture shock, you have just arrived in a new country and you are ready to put what you have learned into practice. Before all of your preparation comes unstuck, here is what you should do to make the transition easier.
How to Reduce the Affects of Culture Shock when You Arrive in a New Country: Establish a Regular Routine Outside the Classroom
As a new EFL teacher you will have a regular routine you must follow for work purposes. But more is required to help make the adjustment than knowing you must be in school at 8:30am each day. To help reduce the affects of culture shock, you will need to work on building a routine outside the classroom as well. Perhaps you can buy your daily newspaper from the same corner shop on your way to work. As you do so, you will get to know the local traders in your area and you will start to fit in more easily than a tourist who is here today and gone tomorrow.
How to Reduce the Affects of Culture Shock when You Arrive in a New Country: Beware of Pessimistic Expatriates
As tempting as it may be to spend all of your free time with fellow expatriates, this will not always make you feel better as you get used to a new country and way of life. Think of how you usually feel when you spend time with pessimistic friends and then consider what it will do to your self confidence if you surround yourself with expatriates who cannot find a single good thing to say about their host country. These feelings can soon rub off on you too, rather than help you adjust to the stresses of culture shock.
How to Reduce the Affects of Culture Shock when You Arrive in a New Country: Keep in Touch with Family and Friends
To begin with, you will not know anyone when you first arrive in the new country, which can be a very lonely time. One way in which you can help yourself is to make sure you keep in touch with your family and friends from back home. They can help to provide you with the love and encouragement you need during this difficult time.
The main thing to keep in mind is to try and stay positive and not focus so much on the negative aspects of living in a foreign country. Think of why you moved abroad to begin with and how you have been able to expand the breadth of your teaching experience by doing so. This can help you to adjust to your new surroundings and overcome culture shock sooner rather than later.