Culture shock is a state that occurs when you find yourself in a position that is different from what you are used to, and you need to stay in it. Often culture shock is experienced by immigrants and students who have arrived abroad.
The emergence of the term "culture shock"
This concept was coined by the anthropologist Calvero Oberg in 1954. He defined culture shock as the fear that is caused by the loss of familiar identification during communication. Even if a person is fluent in the language of the country where he came, many non-verbal signals can be very different from those that he usually saw in his home country.
Culture shock is akin to a temporary mental disorder. Fortunately, this is temporary.
The main symptoms of culture shock
The person becomes irritable and whiny. It would seem that everyday things can cause an inadequate reaction in him. He begins to idealize the state from which he came.
A person who experiences culture shock can often hear complaints about the weather, traditional food, and the attitudes of the people around him. He begins to show dissatisfaction with the sanitary conditions and shows a complete denial of the customs of the country he came to. Often, people in a state of culture shock refuse to learn the language and familiarize themselves with the traditions of the country. They constantly think that they are being deceived and feel a sense of their worthlessness.
There are five main stages of culture shock.
The first stage of culture shock
The person is in a state of certain euphoria. Everything new and unusual to him seems extremely interesting.
Second stage of culture shock
Over time, many small annoying factors arise. Daily problems spoil the mood. A person begins to face difficulties when paying bills, often they simply do not understand him, sometimes they laugh at his accent. Not everyone can survive this difficult psychological moment. A person begins to feel completely alone and not unnecessary to anyone. He withdraws into himself and minimizes his communication with others.
The third stage of culture shock
At this stage, a person begins to be extremely critical of the surrounding reality. He internally does not accept everything that is connected with the country where he is now forced to be. At the third stage, a person seeks communication with people from his home country. Their communication often boils down to criticism of local customs and ridicule of the aborigines. At the same time, the home country is idealized. Some take a different path: on the contrary, they try to completely dissolve in a culture alien to them, trying to copy the locals in almost everything. It looks funny and ridiculous, but this behavior is due to a psychological need and helps to better cope with what is happening.
The fourth stage of culture shock
Gradually, feelings become dulled, and a person is no longer so keenly aware of his differences from the people around him. Over time, he finds his place in a new reality. He has new friends from the local population, a permanent job. The foreigner begins to adapt to life.
The fifth stage of culture shock
This stage occurs at the moment when a person decides to finally visit his former homeland. He suddenly realizes with horror that during his absence here everything has completely changed. Now everything has become completely different in his native country, and the person begins to feel extremely uncomfortable.
How to deal with culture shock
There are a few simple rules to remember to help you deal with culture shock faster:
- Culture shock is temporary and should not be forgotten. It will definitely pass.
- Don't be afraid of others. Often a person in a foreign country begins to get lost and embarrassed if he notices the curious looks of others.
- Don't sit at home. Find a rewarding hobby, such as joining the gym. You can just walk more often and communicate with people, gradually learning the intricacies of the language.
- Before traveling, learn the traditions and customs of the country in which you plan to live in the near future.
- Remember that mastering the local culture and language takes time and effort. Set yourself up for long and painstaking work.