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France is a culture whose traditions and customs are, on the surface, not too different from those of the United States. However, as you begin to experience life in Talloires, you will quickly notice some cultural differences –some subtle, some less so! –that arise as you interact with others and get to know the area. Be patient with yourself and others as you observe these differences.

Here are some tips and tools to help you better understand the process of adapting to another culture:

  • The Phases of Culture Shock–Brandeis University resource
  • How to Cope with Culture Shock–
  • Practice observation before judgment. Approach new experiences and interactions as if you were an anthropologist: observe what happens, take note, and do your best to reserve judgment until you have had some time to process. It is natural for feelings and reactions to arise, so our next tip may be helpful in managing your experience in those situations.
  • Keep a journal. Taking note of your thoughts, feelings, observations, expectations, and desires can be crucial in helping you process and reflect on your experiences. We highly encourage everyone spending time at the European Center to keep a journal. It not only helps you process your feelings productively, but it also allows you to create a written record of your experiences so that you can draw upon them further once you return home!
  • Talk it out. The European Center staff is here to help! We are experienced travelers who have spent significant time living abroad, and we, too, have experienced culture shock –and continue to experience it! –as we move between different cultures and places. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns. We will do our best to support you, and to find the resources that can be of the most help to you before, during, and after your time in Talloires!