Thursday, November 27, 2008

How to Fight Culture Shock


Culture shock also has many stages. Each one of these stages can be ongoing or only appear at certain times. We have listed the 5 stages of culture shock below.


Stage 1 (honeymoon stage)


In this first stage, you may feel exhilarated and pleased by all of the new things encountered. The new things you encounter in the country are new and exciting at first, everything is wonderful. Even the most simple things are new and interesting, taking the bus or going to a restaurant. This exhilarating feeling will probably at some point change to the next phase.


Stage 2 (disillusionment stage)


Culture shock will happen gradually, you may encounter some difficulties or simple differences in your daily routine. For example, communication problems such as not being understood, food, attitude, and customs, these things may start to irritate you. At this stage, you may have feelings of discontent, impatience, anger, sadness, and a feeling of incompetence. This happens when you are trying to adapt to a new culture that is very different from your own. The change between your old methods and those of the country is a difficult process and takes time to complete. During the transition period, you may have some strong feelings of dissatisfaction and start to comparetThe country to your new country in an unfavorable way.


Stage 3 (understanding stage)


The third stage is characterized by gaining some understanding of the country's culture, country, and its' people. You will get a new feeling of pleasure and sense of humor may be experienced. You should start to feel more of a certain psychological balance. During this stage you won't feel as lost and should begin to have a feeling of direction. At this point you are more familiar with the environment and have more of a feeling of wanting to belong. 


Stage 4 (integration stage)


The fourth stage of culture shock is the integration stage and is usually experienced if you are staying for a very long period of time in the country. You will probably realize that the country has good and bad things to offer you. This integration is period is characterized by a strong feeling of belonging. You will start to define yourself and begin establishing goals. 


Stage 5 (re-entry stage)


The final stage of culture shock occurs when you return to your home country. This stage of culture shock generally only effects people who have been in the country for a very long period of time. You may find that things are no longer the same in your home country. For example, some of your newly acquired customs are not in use in your own country.

These stages are present at different times and you will have your own way of reacting in each stage. As a result some you may find some stages can be longer and more difficult than others. There are many factors contribute to the duration and effects of culture shock. For example, your state of mental health, personality, previous experiences, socio-economic conditions, familiarity with the language, family, and level of education.


How to Fight Culture Shock Guide


Most people have the ability to positively deal with the difficulties of a new environment and overcome culture shock. So if you are thinking about going home or only spending time with people from your own culture, don't. You have to realize that you are not alone. Many other foreigners have experienced what you feel, talk to your friends or other people in your working place, they can help you feel better. We have also listed a few ways to fight the stress produced by culture shock below:

  • Develop a hobby
  • Don't forget the good things you already have!
  • Remember, there are always resources that you can use
  • Be patient, living in a different country is a process of adaptation to new situations. It is going to take time
  • Learn to be constructive. If you encounter an unfavorable environment, don't put yourself in that position again. Be easy on yourself.
  • Don't try too hard.
  • Learn to include a regular form of physical activity in your routine. This will help combat the sadness and loneliness in a constructive manner. Exercise, swim, take an aerobics class, etc. Get physical exercise and plenty of sleep
  • Relaxation and meditation are proven to be very positive for people who are passing through periods of stress
  • Maintain contact with other foreigners. This will give you a feeling of belonging and you will reduce your feelings of loneliness and alienation
  • Maintain contact with the new culture. Learn the foreign language. This will help you feel less stressed about the language and useful at the same time.
  • Allow yourself to feel sad about the things that you have left behind: your family, your friends etc.
  • Try to accept country and focus your power on getting through the transition.
  • Pay attention to relationships with your friends and colleagues at work. They will serve as support for you in difficult times.
  • Establish simple goals and evaluate your progress. Make a few small decisions and carry them out. This will give you confidence
  • Find ways to live with the things that don't satisfy you 100%.
  • Maintain confidence in yourself. Follow your ambitions and continue your plans for the future.
  • If you feel stressed or sad, look for help. Tell friends that you are sad. Their support will help.
  • Find people to talk to about your feelings and their feelings
  • Make your living arrangements pleasant, and surround yourself with familiar photos, your favorite music, or a memento from home
  • Don’t be afraid to cry, sing, pray or laugh to express your feelings
  • Be happy and excited for this opportunity, and don’t expect things to be the same as your home country.

Foreigners who follow this advice cope well with culture shock. When you survive culture shock, you’ll find that you have a fresh outlook on your own culture and its roots, and will gain new ways of understanding yourself.