Culture shocks students abroad

Sarah Carlson-McNally ’20 and the family that is housing her while abroad bring home exotic fruits and ingredients for dinner in Bali, Indonesia.

Studying abroad offers students the chance to make lifelong memories. For some majors at SMC, studying abroad is a requirement for graduation. However, for a student who has never left their home country, is the culture shock of living in a new country too much to handle?

This could be very intimidating for a student who had never planned on leaving the country. Although living in a new part of the world can be scary, most of the student body that has gone abroad, have come back changed and matured for the better.

Sarah Carlson-McNally ’20 is an MJD major who is currently studying abroad in Bali, Indonesia. With a 13-hour time difference and a language barrier, Sarah said she is definitely experiencing a decent amount of culture shock.

“I would say that the first thing to catch my attention was the relationship between people and animals. There are all kinds of animals here and the population tends to mix with them differently than in America. Dogs, cats, monkeys, cows all run free through the streets without domestication. it is just strange to see a different relationship between people and animals,” said Sarah.

“The food here is absolutely amazing. All ingredients are extremely fresh, and you could even pick food from the trees if you want. It is a huge shift from the food back home though, nothing is artificial or packaged. Having a snack here means eating nuts, berries or rice compared to chips and soda,” said Sarah

Sierra Seeley is a fashion merchandising student who goes to Jefferson University in Philadelphia. In the fall semester of 2018, she spent her studies in Rome, Italy. While living in Rome, Sierra spent her time traveling around the world and experienced different types of culture shock throughout her trip.

“I am not used to being the minority. Just walking down, the street in Italy I received Strange looks just for being an American. I was often antagonized or harassed when out at night in bars, clubs and restaurants. I do not believe it was acts of hate, these people just do not often see people from America,” said Sierra

Besides the stigma Americans have in most European countries, Italy has a completely different economic system that depends on euros.

“I had to get used to the idea of always having coins on my person. When I am home, I typically just carry bills or my card. However, it was much more common to carry around coins in Italy,” said Sierra.

There is also a much different social norm behind how the day is spent compared to the typical 9-5 in America. The way Italians spent their days is very interesting. It is typical to wake up as early as the sun is rising. After food and preparation for the day, the whole city would be busy and working until it is time for “Siesta” this is a time in the day where everyone takes a nap and recharges.

Although studying abroad means having to adjust to a new method of living. It is an experience that will turn a student into an adult. Coming home from living in a new country may be hard to adjust to.