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Letters from Abroad: How I dealt with Culture Shock

Letters from Abroad: How I dealt with Culture Shock

In my life, I’ve had two very distinct experiences with culture shock. The first time was when I moved to the United States. I had to master a new language, nuanced and rich; get acclimated to the weather, at times bitterly cold and other times nauseatingly hot; get accustomed to food far different from rice and adobo; and, essentially, learn the rhythm and beat of life abroad. But I was lucky. I was young. Eight to be exact. A sponge ready to absorb what life had to offer.

The second round of culture shock was a different story. When I moved to Los Angeles, California for college, I was removed from the familiar, more homogenous community, in food, language, people, religion, and politics that was the Midwest. It was a learning curve, to say the least. The fact that I knew English didn’t help me understand the lingo, words, and phrases, seemingly common knowledge to everyone in my university. It was the first time I traveled outside of the Midwest since moving to the United States, and California surely was and continues to be multifaceted with Los Angeles being the culmination of “different”.

To deal with the culture shock of moving to Los Angeles, I armed myself with an open mindset, careful to find a balance between calculated and spontaneous moments. Joining a community on campus and finding people excited to show what this city had to offer greatly helped me transition. By joining my Filipino club on campus, I was able to explore new things with the peace of mind that people who genuinely cared about my experience were there with me.

My anxiety was replaced with excitement. I quickly adjusted to life in Los Angeles, even though I’m still pleasantly surprised by new things, be it a new favorite dish in a restaurant that I’ve been to a hundred times already or a piece of street art that I’ve never seen before. Now, I’m able to enjoy my time in college, in this city that I’ve adopted as home.

Anthony is a Kaya Co Fellow a former intern of Edukasyon.ph. Born in Cebu, he immigrated with his family to the United States and is now a rising senior studying History at the University of Southern California. He was born in the Camotes Islands, is passionate about education, and a fan of everything Filipino.

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