When I was an international orientation leader in university, a major part of the training was talking about the culture shock and homesickness an international student may experience when they leave their country to go away to school.
There are five stages of culture shock: tourist, crisis, adjustment, independence, and reverse culture shock.
The tourist phase is when a person feels excited about their new home, and is eager to explore everything it has to offer. The crisis stage is when homesickness sets in, and the characteristics just remind you how different everything is from what you’re used to. The adjustment period is when you start to feel more comfortable in your new home, and you generally know where everything is. Finally, reverse culture shock is when you go back home to visit and are shocked at just how different everything is from your new normal.
These phases affect everyone differently, may occur in any order, and can linger with someone for any length of time.
Not surprisingly, a lot of students feel homesick and upset when they go away to college or university.
Sitting in those uncomfortable chairs all those years ago at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), I couldn’t have fathomed how true those lessons would be to me when I decided to move to Bonnyville.
I originally didn’t think the move would be that big of a deal for me, if I’m being completely honest. Unlike the international students at UOIT, I wasn’t leaving the country, I was just going over a couple of provinces, and driving through a couple of time zones.
No big deal, right?
There hasn’t been a day yet where I haven’t gotten lost at least once, and assumed something that was completely wrong. I’ve felt too embarrassed to ask people about slang terms they’ve used during conversations, and have asked where things are that are around the corner from where I am.
I realized that there was going to be an orientation period for me once I got out here, but I had no idea how much I would doubt myself during this transition.
At the end of the day, I’ve just gotta be a big girl and set my mind to adjusting to my new home. It may not be Ontario, but Bonnyville has so much to offer that I’m really looking forward to exploring.
Is there anything you can think of that could help me get used to life in Bonnyville? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.