Study Abroad: Cultural Differences Through the Eyes of Students

Culture is what shapes an individual and education helps improve the way an individual interacts with different cultures. Studying abroad exposes a student to a broader cultural perspective that can enhance their quality of life and their view of other people and societies.

It helps build tolerance with other cultures and could provide them with important social-economic benefits. Instead of learning about other people’s cultures through books, they get a first-hand experience while interacting with diverse people.

A new perspective

When a student is planning to go and study abroad, they first do a search for the best places to study abroad. Once they find one, they compare the colleges available and apply to join one. They will get excited when they receive an admission letter but unknown to them, they will be joining an entirely new culture.

Most advanced degree courses take two years to complete, while an undergraduate course takes four years. During the time the student will be in college, they will be far away from their culture and people. This includes food, dressing, climate, weather, and people’s colors.

Back home, they might have learned many negative things about the culture they are living in at college. As time goes by, they get a different perspective about the culture and their stereotypes cease too. They embrace the new culture and sometimes might decide to permanently live in their newfound culture.

Global awareness

When in high school or university pursuing their undergraduate course, a student might only be aware of their country and culture even if they have read about other cultures in books. The world today is smaller thanks to technology. A student can travel from one end of the world into the next within a few hours.

They can connect with other students thousands of miles away thanks to the internet. When they join college abroad, they join a new culture, yet they can connect with their own culture back home through technology. The reality of cultural diversity dawns on them and they realize that although the world has diverse cultures, they are all interconnected into one world through education, business, and communication.

When living in your native country, you get used to a certain lifestyle and it becomes a normal routine. The day you travel to study abroad, you might be surprised to find that the people in the other country are different in their way of doing things is different. You must get mentally prepared to experience a new culture and absorb the shock. You can read free resources about culture mentioned in culture shock essay examples on WritingBros and learn how to deal with the differences. They are good essays to read, especially when you want to read about new cultures and culture shock.

Global awareness

Dealing with culture shock

Depending on the country or region a student goes to study abroad, their rate of adaption depends on how rooted the new culture is. The way of dressing in the new culture might be entirely different. They might have types of food the student has never eaten. Their buildings and language might be entirely different.

If the difference between what the student expected and the reality on the ground is too diverse, the student might experience a culture shock. In some places, there might be levels of segregation, rejection, or even violence.

To deal with the school, the student must learn the basics of the new culture and interactions between men, women, teachers, students, and those in governments. They must stay focused on their goals and find a way out to fit into the new culture.

Experiencing a new language and way of doing things

A major hindrance most students face is when they have to deal with a new language. Within the student community, they might not have problems because the school uses a teaching language they can understand. The challenge comes when interacting with the community outside school.

The experience can be both good and bad. It’s good because the student will learn a new language and have an added advantage in international communication and business. It is also bad because they will have challenges transacting, commuting, and getting work opportunities.

Appreciating nature diversity

Culture and nature are interconnected because nature influences the way people live, the types of houses they build, dressing, food, etc. When a student travels to study abroad, they get chances to see animal species they haven’t seen before.

They also new plant species, different types of soils, geographic formations, and agricultural practices. It helps them understand how the culture in that nation developed due to its influencing factors. They can also reflect on home and see how nature influenced cultural development back home.

Dealing with the unexpected benefits

A student might have the obvious benefits expected when they travel to study abroad. These are benefits such as touring the new county, graduating, and new food. However, a student might likely experience benefits they didn’t expect. These are benefits such as enhanced networks, better confidence, greater career opportunities, and improved language skills.

As the student interacts with the new culture, they experience new benefits through creating new friendships, relationships, and teams. They learn a second language which can positively impact their future career. By living in another culture, their inborn skills begin to develop and they become adaptable, their level of confidence improves, and other skills such as communication and management skills develop.


Studying abroad gives a student opportunity to see the world differently. They get real experiences with different people practicing different cultures. They appreciate cultural diversity and see how the entire world is connected through culture. The biases and stereotypes they might have before they joined college abroad soon disappear because they come to understand the people better when life lives within their culture.

Author Bio

Judy Nelson is a word genie – she is an exceptional writer, editor and proofreader and her work is mostly centered around academic writing for students. She has written for some very famous websites and plans to develop a writing tool for students sometime in the future.

Leave a Comment

Read more