When you travel, you’re more likely to get culture shock. If you’re unsure of what culture shock is but you want to be prepared for it before you head off to pastures new, this guide can help you. Here, we’re going to look at what culture shock is and how you can get over it.
What Is Culture Shock?
Culture shock is where you are thrown out of your daily routine, and into a place with a brand new culture and different attitudes. Things are no longer familiar; gestures, tone of voice, how we wait in lines, how people interact, etc. These things rely on collectively understood cultural cues – they are the norm for us and we don’t really pay attention to them. We are hyper aware of things that are different in other countries because they are so different from our norm. You may not have literal shock, but you may feel disorientated and struggle to process the changes. However, there are usually a few stages to culture shock that you should be aware of.
Stages Of Culture Shock
- The honeymoon stage – you’ll probably notice the similarities and be charmed by the differences at this stage.
- The negotiation stage – the honeymoon feelings will diminish and you’ll get more annoyed at things you’re not used to, you might even become confused, angry, and scared.
- The adjustment stage – you can relax and come to terms with how different things are.
- The mastery stage – you reach a high level of comfort in this new place and your routine is more natural to you.
Just know that there will come a time when you feel more comfortable – the uncertain stages won’t last forever!
Dealing With Culture Shock
Now let’s talk about dealing with culture shock.
Learn as Much As You Can Before You Travel – make sure you learn as much as you possibly can about a place before you travel. Read up on different reviews and forums, and watch YouTube videos. You’ll get a good idea of what to expect, and hopefully, the shock won’t be too severe.
When You Arrive, Write Down What You Love – as soon as you arrive, write down what you love about the place. Maybe you love the hustle and bustle of Downtown L.A., or how friendly the people are in South East Asia. Write down as many things as you can so that you can look back on it when you’re feeling low.
Find A Healthy Distraction – find a distraction to help you deal in the tough stages. You could work out. listen to a podcast, read a book, or do something else you enjoy.
See If You Can Talk To Others About How You Feel – you may be able to find other travellers and talk to them about it, or there are always forums you can use.
Are you ready to deal with culture shock after reading this, or have you experienced it already? Leave your comments below!