What is culture shock
“Culture shock” describes the impact of moving from a familiar culture to an unfamiliar one. It’s the surprise of a new environment, with new people and a new way of life. Culture shock is entirely normal, unavoidable and is nothing to feel embarrassed about.
It is important to learn about this process in order to minimize the effect it will have when you’re away from home.
- Preliminary stage: Happens while you prepare for your journey, you learn about your host culture and plan all your farewell activities.
- Initial Euphoria: Begins on arrival and ends when the novelty wears off.
- Irritability: Coping with aspects of everyday life suddenly seems foreign.
- General Adjustment: The culture becomes familiar and you understand how to orient yourself in relation to it.
- Adaptation: You’ve learned how to function in the new culture, and perhaps even feel part of it.
- Re-Entry Phase: After returning home, you realize you’ve been changed – Your old set of values remains, and another has been acquired from your experiences.
Culture shock is part of your growth, don’t be afraid of it!