So I’ve been pretty distracted from writing while here in China so far. There’s so much to see, so much to do, I haven’t had time to sit down and think about what’s all going on.
Truth is I’m having an awesome time. I’m settled into a new home with my new roommates, I’ve started teaching classes, and I’m starting to get into a real routine. I haven’t really been shocked by the culture here. Life here is extremely different, but I’m finding it easy to manage.
I honestly didn’t think culture shock would be a big thing for me — I had lived abroad before, so I should be OK, right? No, that’s not really the case anymore.
When I first got here, the honeymoon phase immediately set in. We were staying in a 5-star hotel, exploring the city, going out at night, just having a blast. Even when I moved out of the hotel and into my apartment, everything was great. Everything was new and exciting, and I couldn’t help but be happy. The honeymoon didn’t last as long as I had hoped.
Just under 3 weeks in, the frustration started to settle. I began to feel a bit lost, and I started having these thoughts like “I’m never going to fit in” and “Maybe China just isn’t for me…”
Thankfully, I recognized these thoughts and this frustration really quickly, and now I’m doing what I can to change that attitude. I’ve made myself a quick little action plan to help get over this stage of culture shock and start adjusting to life here in China.
- Learn Chinese. I’m feeling misplaced because I don’t speak the language. If I never make an effort to learn Chinese, I’m always going to be feeling like this here.
- Get enough sleep. OK, so in the beginning I was getting like no sleep. I’m sure I got more sleep in college than I was getting those first few weeks.
- Find a gym. Working out is one of my favorite ways to work out my frustrations, and being able to do that here will help my mood improve so much.
- Write more. I find comfort in writing, and if I spend more time focusing on how awesome it is that I’m here, and how great everything really is — maybe I can get rid of these negative feelings much more quickly!
Do you have any tips on how to get over this frustrating stage of culture shock?