What is Culture Shock?
Definition: persistent feelings of uneasiness, loneliness, and anxiety that occur when a person has shifted from one culture to a different one
Who Gets Culture Shock?
Culture shock happens to anyone who spends a significant amount of time living and participating in another culture, no matter how much they know about the other culture in advance.
What is Culture Anyway?
Anthropological definition: a way of looking at the world and making sense of it that is ingrained at a deep and tacit level in each of us; a set of premises about the right and proper way for the world to be organized
What are the Stages of Culture Shock?
1. The honeymoon stage 2. The judgment stage 3. Transition stage
4. Acceptance stage
5. Repeat stages 2-4 as needed
How Do I Know if I Have Culture Shock?
•emotional difficulties (depression, anger, irritability, hostility, loneliness) •preoccupation with health and cleanliness
•feeling of being overwhelmed by even the smallest things
•homesickness (longing for family, idealizing home country)
•developing (negative) stereotypes
•loss of identity (lack of confidence, feelings of being exploited or abused) *** feelings of reduced competence as a cultural actor ***
How Can I Handle Culture Shock If I Get It?
#1 – it’s all in the attitude… it helps to have •a sense of humor
•open-mindedness and curiosity
•an ability to cope with failure
•flexibility and adaptability
•tolerance for difference and ambiguity •positive outlook; optimism
#2 – take practical action… it helps to
•get plenty of exercise
•get in touch with the familiar: eat familiar food, call home, complain to like-minded international students, speak your native language
•get involved in activities: clubs, sports teams, community service, music groups, etc.
•make connections: make new friends, practice English as much and as often as you can
#3 – engage in cultural analysis…it helps if you
•practice cultural relativism
•remain objective — don’t judge
•observe, interpret, and analyze in order to make sense of your cultural experience(s)
How to not look like a tourist
As an American traveling in a foreign country, the last thing you want to do is stand out like a sore thumb. Not only do you have a greater chance of getting sucked into tourist traps, but you’re also a more obvious target for getting mugged. So, are you aware of the things you do, say, and wear that make you look like the stereotypical tourist? Wear clothes that make you look like you blend in with the others. Check out what locals are wearing – avoid stained hooded sweatshirts!
Links to sites for travel advise