If you are interested in culture shock, do a web search and see what comes up. The results are quite varied and tend to bring a smile to your face. I’ve found that the most important trait to have when dealing with culture shock is to keep an open mind. Each culture approaches life their own way and the resulting experience can seem comical at times. It’s okay to laugh, but care needs to be taken to respect differences. Viewing things as different makes all the difference in the world than merely viewing them as wrong. And remember, you can experience culture shock by walking down the street in your hometown.
You can explore some of my experiences with culture shock by checking out my posts.
Thanks go to the JET Programme, which has supplied great information about culture shock. An abundance of information exists but I have found this to be the most useful and succinct. The following information comes from their website. I’ve altered it to be more inclusive and less specific to the JET Programme and Japan. And remember that the four steps are cyclic, they come back again, and again, and again…
Culture Shock is a four-stage cycle that most people experience a number of times. It is triggered by the inability of people to adjust and evaluate experiences from the host culture’s perspective. You will experience ways of thinking and actions that differ from, or even conflict with your own, which forces you to re-examine assumptions and social behaviors which were once thought absolute, and may cause discomfort, disorientation and emotional conflicts.
The four stages of culture shock are as follows:
1. Initial Euphoria (Honeymoon Period)
Anything new and different to you is intriguing and exciting.
2. Irritation and Hostility (Culture Shock)
You often feel homesick and have negative attitudes towards the host culture.
3. Gradual Adjustment
You begin to adjust and the culture seems more familiar.
4. Adaptation and Biculturalism
You are completely adjusted to the host culture and may even experience reverse culture shock upon returning home.