DEALING WITH CULTURE SHOCK

Often times we go to a place where we know no one or absolutely nothing about the culture in said place. At first it is exciting to travel and you will not notice the different challenges you may face. Later on it just crashes on you and you may feel overwhelmed. Here is an idea of what it feels like;

BLISSFUL DENIAL

At first you are overwhelmed with excitement so it doesn’t hit you that you could ever panic at how different the place is from your usual place. You interact, meet new people, discover as much about yourself as the new place and it’s all rosy in paradise.

Everything you experience, from cultural aspects such as ways of living and interacting with others to clothes, music, and food, seems exotic, new and exciting. You are wearing your adventure clothes and pass the time thoughtlessly.

Like all highs, this feeling can’t last forever. After about two months, things start to feel odd. The differences between this place and home are more noticeable. You miss your friends and family more and more. You feel like no one gets you, you long to hear just one person speak your language. You could miss the food or transportation of your country. It all seems odd.

COMPROMISE

By now it all feels odd and you could be lonely but you start promising yourself treats if you get through the day, week, month. It all seems a little overwhelming and you need those little things to reaffirm that you are okay. Homesickness dominates your waking thoughts and you long for something familiar. Sometimes your initial excitement returns but it is coupled with  disorientation and frustration. Sometimes you feel like you take two steps forward and one back but it is all a process.

ADAPTATION

Find your anchor in this new place and return to it each time you feel lost. You learn to adapt to stress through various techniques, and cope somehow. By making new friends you won’t feel so lonely. Know what to expect so that your attitude and behavior can adapt. Work on your language if it is a different language spoken in that place, you will be surprised when you start thinking and dreaming in a new language!! Sleeping can also take your mind off things.

AT LAST

Things click into place and you are sure what you are doing and where you are going. You feel at home and find your feet in a new place.

Advertisements