What Is Culture Shock


Reading Into Culture Shock

A sensation of uncertainty, perplexity, or worry that people may have after migrating to a new nation or encountering a new culture or surroundings is referred to as culture shock. Because you are in a foreign environment, it is typical for you to experience some cultural acclimatization. When people relocate to a new city or country, such as when they retire overseas, they may experience culture shock. In addition, culture shock can occur when people travel for leisure or business, or when they study abroad for a semester or year.

However, while everyone’s adjustment process is unique, there are some phases that most people go through before they feel comfortable in their new surroundings.

It is, nevertheless, possible to overcome it and grow as a consequence of the experience.

Key Takeaways

  • A sensation of uncertainty, perplexity, or worry that people may have while migrating to a new nation or environment is referred to as culture shock. People might experience culture shock when they relocate to a new city or country, go on vacation, travel abroad, or study abroad for a period of time. In the context of being in a strange place, it is common to experience cultural acclimatization. Most people categorize cultureshock into four stages: the honeymoon time
  • The frustration stage
  • The adaption stage
  • And, finally, the acceptance stage. It is possible for people to grow comfortable with their new surroundings over time as they meet new people and learn the local customs, which can lead to a greater respect for the culture.

Understanding Culture Shock

When someone moves away from the comfort of their home and familiar surroundings and into an unknown area, they are said to be experiencing culture shock. Especially if the two areas are drastically different, such as relocating from a small rural region to a huge metropolitan area or from one nation to another, the adjustment phase can be rather stressful. When relocating from one part of a country to another within the same country, people may experience culture shock as well. The majority of the time, no single incident causes culture shock, nor does it happen suddenly or without cause.

The sensation is very powerful in the beginning, and it might be difficult to get past the initial shock.

As a consequence, navigating one’s environment becomes simpler, new acquaintances are created, and one’s overall comfort level increases significantly.

The 4 Stages of Culture Shock

People who are experiencing culture shock may go through four stages, which are described in further detail below.

The Honeymoon Stage

As a rule, the honeymoon stage is considered to be the initial stage of the relationship. This is due to the fact that individuals feel overjoyed to be in their new surroundings. They frequently regard it as an adventure. If someone is just staying for a short period of time, this initial enthusiasm may serve as the foundation for the whole encounter.

However, the honeymoon period for individuals embarking on a longer-term relocation inevitably comes to an end, despite the expectation that it will remain indefinitely.

The Frustration Stage

It is possible that people will grow increasingly irritable and disoriented when the excitement of being in a new setting wears off. Fatigue may gradually set in as a result of misinterpretations of other people’s behaviors, talks, and methods of accomplishing their goals. Individuals may feel overwhelmed by a new culture at this point, particularly if there is an issue with linguistic communication. Local habits can also become increasingly difficult to maintain, and things that were formerly simple can take longer to do, resulting in weariness.

  • Fatigue
  • Frustration
  • Irritability
  • Homesickness
  • Depression
  • A sense of being lost and out of place

The inability to communicate effectively—both in terms of comprehending what others are saying and in terms of making oneself understood—is probably the most frustrating aspect of life. This stage of cultural adjustment might be the most challenging for some people, as they may feel the need to retreat from their new environment. For example, overseas students adjusting to life in the United States while participating in study abroad programs may experience feelings of anger and anxiety, which can lead to disengagement from new relationships.

The Adaptation Stage

Individuals gradually become more at ease in their new circumstances as they progress through the adaption stage. As people become used to their new surroundings, the dissatisfaction that they were experiencing begins to fade. People will get more familiar with specific cultural cues, even if they do not fully comprehend them at first—at the very least to the point where deciphering them becomes much simpler.

The Acceptance Stage

People are more able to experience and enjoy their new house during the acceptance or healing stage. As a result, their views and attitudes toward their new surroundings tend to improve, resulting in improved self-confidence and the reemergence of their sense of humor. It is common for people to have overcome the hurdles and misconceptions that they encountered during the frustration stage, allowing them to become more comfortable and happy. At this point, the majority of individuals are experiencing growth and may begin to modify their old habits and embrace the manners of their new culture.

However, it is possible that the knowledge will dawn that total comprehension is not required in order to survive and prosper in the new environment.

Alternative causes include experiencing new ways of doing things, becoming disconnected from behavioral cues, having your own beliefs questioned, and feeling as if you don’t understand the rules.

How to Overcome Culture Shock

Individuals may reduce the impact of culture shock and speed up the healing process, but time and habit are also helpful in dealing with culture shock.

  • To comprehend the causes for cultural differences, keep an open mind and study about the new nation or culture you’re visiting. Don’t get caught up in nostalgic memories of home, continuously contrasting it with your new surroundings
  • Fill up a notebook with details on your experience, highlighting the good parts of the new culture
  • Don’t isolate yourself
  • Be active and mingle with the people around you. Be open and honest about your feelings of disorientation and confusion, but do it in a responsible manner. Inquire for guidance and assistance
  • Discuss and share your cultural heritage with others—communication is a two-way street.

What is the definition of culture shock?

When someone is separated from their usual surroundings and culture as a result of relocating or going to a new place, they experience culture shock or adjustment.

It is common for culture shock to result in a rush of feelings such as exhilaration, fear, perplexity, and uncertainty.

Is culture shock good or bad?

However, despite the fact that it may have a negative connotation, culture shock is a common experience that many individuals go through when they relocate or go abroad. While it can be difficult, people who are able to settle their emotions and adjust to their new surroundings are more likely to succeed in overcoming culture shock. As a result, cultural adjustment can result in personal improvement as well as a positive overall experience.

What is an example of culture shock?

For example, overseas students who come to the United States for a semester of study abroad may experience culture shock when they first arrive. Language hurdles and new norms can make it difficult for pupils to acclimatize, resulting in feelings of anger and anxiety in certain cases. Because of this, students may retreat from social activities and face minor health concerns such as difficulty falling or staying asleep. Through the process of making new friends and learning social signs, children feel more comfortable in their new surroundings over time.

What are the types of culture shock?

Cultural shock can occur among overseas students who have come to the United States for a semester of study abroad, as an example. When faced with language obstacles and strange norms, it can be difficult to adjust, causing some students to become agitated and depressed. Because of this, students may retreat from social activities and develop minor health concerns such as difficulty sleeping, among other symptoms. Through the process of making new friends and learning social cues, kids feel more comfortable in their new surroundings.

Culture Shock

For the most part, people will have some difficulty adjusting to their new nation and culture when they move. This is very natural, and it should be taken as a given. Cultural adjustment, or “culture shock,” as it is usually referred to, is the result of being cut off from activities you are accustomed to doing and experiencing. Culture shock does not occur as a result of a single occurrence, and it does not occur without any prior warning or reason. It gradually takes shape as a result of a sequence of tiny occurrences.

Living in a foreign country may cause you to reevaluate your ideals, which you may have previously accepted as absolutes.

But if you have patience, you will be able to conquer it and grow as a result of the experience.

Stages of Cultural Adjustment

People react differently to changes, but research has shown that there are distinct phases that virtually everyone will go through at some point in their lives. The stages are as follows: 1. The feeling of euphoria at first. Everyone is ecstatic to be in their new nation and to embark on the adventures that await them. This phase is referred to as the “honeymoon period.” This moment may continue anywhere from a few days to several months, but it eventually fades away, and a sense of disappointment is unavoidable.

  • After living in a nation for a period of time, you will begin to play a more active role in your community.
  • This is the most challenging aspect of living in a foreign country.
  • Gradual Adjustment is the third step.
  • You’ll be more comfortable with your surroundings as time goes on.
  • Your sense of humour will also return as a result of this sense of familiarity.
  • You now feel at ease in your new nation and are able to perform effectively in both cultural environments.

You have acquired new habits and etiquette while also letting go of some of your old ones. Your adaptation to your new nation has been so successful that you may anticipate feeling ” reverse culture shock” when you return to the United States.

Help for Culture Shock

Because culture shock is unavoidable, there isn’t much you can do to prevent it from occurring. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the severity of the consequences:

  • It’s important to remember that culture shock affects everyone who travels or lives abroad. You’re not the only one who’s been through anything like this
  • Create a notebook to keep track of your initial thoughts and feelings
  • Make an effort to find rational explanations for everything that looks weird or puzzling in your new cultural environment. Make an effort to see things from the perspective of the host culture. Determine the underlying worth of any conduct you don’t comprehend
  • Attempt to focus on the good features of your new culture rather than the bad ones by making a list of all the positive characteristics of your new culture
  • Avoid making disparaging remarks about the individuals who live in the area. These notions will only serve to enhance your sentiments of superiority and will prevent you from ever being acclimated to your new environment.
  • Stay away from Americans or other foreigners who are having a difficult time adjusting to their new environment. It is not appropriate to participate in rag sessions about your host culture. Choose instead an American who has lived in the country for a time, has survived culture shock, and has a favorable outlook on life in the country. This individual will assist you in gaining an understanding of the host culture.
  • Make close friends with the nationals of the host country. A small group of close, personal friends will assist you in learning about your new culture while also providing you with someone who will listen to your difficulties.
  • Maintain your physical activity and avoid sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself. Consider taking a weekend getaway to get away from it all
  • You could find yourself returning rejuvenated and with a fresh perspective.
  • Have trust in yourself that you will be able to adjust to your new environment. Over time, you will begin to feel better.
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Culture shock – Wikipedia

The Aztecs were taken aback by the encounter with the conquerors armed with steel and horses, and they mistook them for eastern prophets as a result of their astonishment. If you move to a different culture, you may experience culture shock. It is also the feeling of being disoriented that a person may have when experiencing a new way of life due to immigration or a visit to another country, or when transitioning between social environments, or when simply transitioning to another type of life is the experience of culture shock.

Culture shock may be divided into four separate phases, each of which includes at least one of the following: honeymoon, negotiation, adjustment, and adaption.

There is no foolproof way to completely avoid culture shock since individuals in every community are impacted by cultural differences in their own unique ways, and there is no way to completely avoid it.

Oberg’s four phases model

Acculturation model predicts that people would first experience (1) honeymoon phase, followed by (2) transition period, often known as culture shock. A rejection of the new culture, as well as a romanticization of one’s own culture, may characterize this stage of life. But, given enough time and maybe with the assistance of locals or other cultural brokers, individuals will begin to (3) adapt (the dotted line depicted some people hated by new cultures instead). And (4) refers to those persons who have returned to their home countries and have re-adjusted to their native cultures.


Because of the romantic nature of this time period, the disparities between old and modern culture are regarded in a romantic light. One could fall in love with new foods, the speed of life, and the customs of a foreign nation after relocating there for a year or two. During the first few weeks, the majority of individuals are enthralled by the unfamiliar culture. They associate with natives who speak their language and who are kind to outsiders, as opposed to those who do not. This stage, like the majority of honeymoon periods, comes to an end eventually.


After a period of time (typically three months or more, depending on the individual), the disparities between the old and new cultures become obvious, which may cause worry for the individual. As one continues to witness undesirable situations that may be viewed as weird and insulting to one’s cultural mindset, one’s excitement may finally give way to unpleasant sentiments of irritation and wrath. Obstacles like as language barriers, severe disparities in public cleanliness, traffic safety, and the accessibility and quality of food can all contribute to a sense of alienation from one’s immediate environment.

The greatest significant development, however, has been in the area of communication: People who are transitioning to a new culture frequently experience feelings of loneliness and homesickness since they are not yet accustomed to the new surroundings and encounter new people on a daily basis with whom they are not familiar.

If you are a student studying abroad, you may notice that you are experiencing extra symptoms of loneliness that may eventually influence your overall lifestyle.

This is especially true when cultural distances are great, as patterns of logic and speech are different and a strong emphasis is placed on rhetorical skills.


One becomes acclimated to the new culture and establishes habits after a period of time (typically 6 to 12 months). In the majority of instances, one knows what to expect, and the host nation no longer appears to be all that foreign. One begins to be concerned with the necessities of life once more, and things begin to appear more “normal.” Starting to acquire problem-solving abilities for coping with the culture and beginning to embrace the culture’s customs with a good attitude are both important steps in the learning process.


One becomes acclimated to the new culture and establishes routines after a period of time (often 6-12 months). In the majority of instances, one knows what to expect, and the host nation does not appear to be all that foreign anymore, which is a relief. As one’s attention returns to the necessities of life, things return to “normal” status. One begins to build problem-solving abilities for coping with the culture and comes to embrace the culture’s ways with a good attitude as one progresses through the process.


Culture shock, according to Gary R. Weaver, has “three main causative explanations”: the loss of familiar cues, the breakdown of interpersonal communications, and an identity crisis, among other things. Peter S. Adler addressed the psychological factors that contributed to the situation. Tema Milstein wrote that it has the potential to be beneficial.

Reverse culture shock

It is possible to experience reverse culture shock (also known as “re-entry shock” or “own culture shock”), which occurs when a person returns to his or her own culture after becoming used to a new one. The symptoms of reverse culture shock are similar to those mentioned above. In this case, the effects of the readjustment process to the native culture have manifested themselves in the form of psychosomatic and psychological manifestations. This is frequently more startling and difficult to deal with for the individual who has been impacted than the first culture shock.

This saying is also the title of a novel by Thomas Wolfe.

When we spend a significant amount of time overseas, we tend to concentrate on the positive aspects of our history, exclude the negative aspects, and build an idealized image of the past.

We anticipate that everything will stay just as it was when we left it.

Upon realizing that life back home has changed, that the world has moved on without us, and the process of readjusting to these new circumstances while also integrating our new impressions of the world into our old way of life, we experience discomfort and psychological suffering.


Following the adjustment phase, there are three primary outcomes:

  • Adapting to and integrating into a new culture might be difficult for certain individuals. They separate themselves from the host country’s surroundings, which they have grown to regard as hostile, retreat into a (sometimes imaginary) ” ghetto “, and believe that the only way out is to return to their own culture. This group, which is frequently referred to as “Rejectors,” accounts for around 60 percent of all expatriates. In addition, these “Rejectors” have the most difficulty re-integrating back into their home countries after returning
  • Other people integrate entirely and completely adopt all aspects of the host culture while maintaining their own identity. This is referred to as “cultural integration.” They are often expected to remain in the host nation indefinitely. This group, commonly referred to as “Adopters,” comprises around 10% of all expatriates. Some people are able to adapt to features of the host culture that they consider to be beneficial while maintaining characteristics of their own and forming their own unique mix. They have no significant difficulties in going home or migrating elsewhere in the world. This group can be considered to be cosmopolitan in nature. This category accounts for around 30% of all expats in the world.

Culture shock manifests itself in a variety of ways, with varying durations and degrees of severity. Many individuals are hampered by its existence and are oblivious to the fact that they are being inconvenienced. There is evidence to show that the psychological impact of culture shock may have physiological consequences as well as psychological consequences. For example, the psycho-social stress experienced during these conditions has been shown to be associated with the beginning of puberty at an earlier age.

Transition shock

Culture shock is a subtype of a larger concept known as transition shock, which is more global in scope. Transition shock is a sense of loss and confusion caused by a shift in one’s usual surroundings that necessitates readjusting to the new environment. Transition shock manifests itself in a variety of ways, including:

  • Intense feelings of rage and boredom
  • Compulsive overeating, drinking, and weight gain
  • A longing for home and old acquaintances
  • Excessive concern about cleanliness
  • Excessive sleep
  • Helplessness and a desire to separate from others
  • Getting “stuck” on a certain issue
  • Homelessness
  • A glazed look on the face Anger directed against host-country people
  • Impulsivity
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Physiological stress reactions Host nationalities are being stereotyped
  • The presence of suicidal or fatalistic ideas
  • Withdrawal.

See also

  • Cultural conflict, cultural cringe, cultural intelligence, cultural schema theory, and so on. In this section, you will find terms such as Expatriate, Fresh off the Boat (Future Shock), Intercultural communication, Jetlag, Neophobia, Outsourced (film), and Outsourced (book). Program for student exchange
  • Xenophobia


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  2. Macionis, John, and Linda Gerber, “Chapter 3 – Culture,” Sociology, 7th edition ed., Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada Inc., 2010. The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents Around the World, by Paul Pedersen, is available online. Contributions in psychology, volume 25, number 25. Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 1995
  3. The effects of culture shock on communication are discussed by LaRay M. Barna in “How Culture Shock Affects Communication.” Communication 5.1, no date, pages 1-18. SocINDEX with Full Text is available. EBSCO.29 Sept.2009.web
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  7. s^ In Oberg, Kalervo, “Cultural shock: Adjustment to new cultural contexts,” in Practical Anthropology, vol. 7, no. 2, 1960, pp. 177–182, p. 177–182
  8. “Culture Shock and the Problem of Adjustment to New Cultural Environments,” by Kalervo Oberg, is a paper published in the journal Psychological Science. The World Wide Classroom Consortium for International Education (WWCCIE) is a non-profit organization that promotes international education across the world. Multicultural studies were conducted on September 29th, 2009
  9. Dr. Gregory Mavrides’s article, “Culture Shock and Clinical Depression,” was included in the Foreign Teachers Guide to Living and Working in China. Middle Kingdom Life, 2009. Web. 29 Sept. 2009
  10. Middle Kingdom Life, 2009. Sarah is a young woman who grew up in a little town in the United States (25 May 2016). www.thewanderlanders.com has an article titled “Adjust to New Cultures Like a Pro.” The original version of this article was published on October 4, 2017. Obtainable on March 19, 2018
  11. Understanding and coping with cross-cultural adjustment stress (G.R. Weaver, ed.). New York: Springer-Verlag. Cultural communication and conflict: Readings in intercultural relations (Ginn Press, Needham Heights, MA, 1994), pp. 169–189
  12. P.S. Adler, Culture, Communication, and Conflict: Readings in Intercultural Relations (1994), pp. 169–189. The transitory experience: A different perspective on culture shock. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, volume 15, number 4, pages 13–23
  13. T. Milstein published a paper in 2005 titled Sojourning and the apparent strengthening of one’s own self-efficacy are two aspects of transformation overseas. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, volume 29, number 2, pages 217-238. Martin Woesler, et al. A new model of intercultural communication – critically reviewing, combining, and further developing the basic models of Permutter, Yoshikawa, Hall, Geert Hofstede, Thomas, Hallpike, and the social-constructivism, Bochum/Berlin 2009, book series Comparative Cultural Sciences vol. 1
  14. A new model of intercultural communication – critically reviewing, combining, and further developing the basic models of Permutter, Yoshikawa, Hall, Geert Hofstede Laura Clarke is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom (6 November 2016). “How expats deal with the loss of their sense of self.” BBC Capital (British Broadcasting Corporation), retrieved on 5 December 2017
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  16. Elizabeth Garone is a writer who lives in Los Angeles (3 November 2014). “The effects of expat culture shock reverberate across the workplace.” BBC Capital (British Broadcasting Corporation), retrieved on 5 December 2017
  17. Jennifer L. Huff is the author of this work (2001). Parents’ connection, reverse culture shock, perceived social support, and college adjustment of missionary offspring are all examined in this study. Journal of Psychology and Theology, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 246–264. Martin, Hank
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  23. s^ Howard Winant is credited with inventing the term “winant” (2001). A Ghetto Has Been Created On The Face Of The Earth. ISBN 0-465-04341-0
  24. New York, NY: Basic Books, p.258.ISBN 0-465-04341-0
  25. Victoria Christofi and Charles L. Thompson are co-authors of this work. “You Can’t Go Home Again: A Phenomenological Investigation of Returning to the Sojourn Country After Studying Abroad” is a paper published in the journal “You Can’t Go Home Again.” Journal of Counseling Development, volume 85, number 1, pages 53-63, 2007. SocINDEX with Full Text, EBSCOhost, accessed October 15, 2009
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  33. CESA, “Dealing with Culture Shock.” The Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED) is in charge of administration. The original version of this article was published on August 28, 2009. Obtainable on September 29, 2009
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What Is Culture Shock

Culture shock is defined as the psychological consequence of transitioning from one culture to another that is unfamiliar. This comprises the emotions and sensations (such as surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, and bewilderment) that a person has when he or she must adjust to a new and unfamiliar cultural or social setting. It may involve the shock of being in a new environment, meeting new people, eating new cuisine, or learning a foreign language, as well as the shock of being removed from the essential people in your life, such as family, friends, coworkers, and teachers, amongst other factors.

The stages are as follows:

Step 1: The Honeymoon Stage

Everything is novel and intriguing at this point. You may be overcome with joy and astonishment at the vast array of distinctions you observe and experience. You are energized and aroused, and you yet feel connected to all that is familiar to you at home. During this stage, you tend to concentrate on the parallels between your own country and your host country, while also acknowledging and appreciating the distinctions between the two.

Step 2: The Distress Stage

Once the honeymoon period has passed, you may find yourself becoming increasingly bored or annoyed with your new nation, particularly with its habits and ideals. You’re no longer surprised by the things you’re encountering; in fact, it’s beginning to seem as though the strangeness of a new culture is keeping you from fully immersing yourself in it. You may be resentful of the way things are done in this place, and you may believe that things should be done differently. As a result, you may begin to romanticize life “back home,” and you may begin to believe that your present culture, language, and cuisine are substandard in comparison to what you’re accustomed to.

Don’t be concerned; this is very normal.

Step 3 – The Orientation Stage

The Orientation Stage is the initial stage of accepting a person into your life. When you reach this level, you will begin to see why some things are done in a particular way. You begin to accept other people’s cultures and customs, regardless of whether you think they are good or terrible. You’re starting to feel more at ease in your new surroundings, and your view is starting to become more optimistic.

More confident and more equipped to deal with any challenges that may develop as a result of this experience. Keep in mind that culture shock is not a totally linear process; you may find yourself returning to the Distress Stage numerous times until you reach the Adjustment Stage.

Step 4 – The Adaptation Stage

When you reach this level, your mentality has shifted, and you are able to work well in both cultures. As a result of your acceptance of new culture, you are able to perceive it in a fresh, yet realistic perspective. You are normally well-acquainted with your new life at this point, and you have established your own habits and daily routines. You have a sense of security, self-assurance, and ability to make judgments. You no longer feel alone and isolated; instead, you begin to feel at ease and at ease with yourself.

Definition of CULTURE SHOCK

When foreign students arrive in the United States for the first time, they frequently experience culture shock. When he first moved to the city, he had a severe cultural shock. Recent Web-based illustrations While attempting to maintain their frenetic pace, Mr. Gicinto, Mr. Nocon, and Mr. Russo were also adjusting to the culture shock of being snatched from their previous jobs in the government and thrust into the fast-paced environment of a rising technology business. —New York Times, November 28, 2021 During the first season of Emily in Paris, viewers were introduced to the main heroine’s new job as a marketing professional in Paris as well as the luxurious culture shock of relocating from Chicago to the fashion center of the world.

—Francesca Street, CNN, November 26, 2021 As a result, it’s a bit of a culture shock when Far Cry 6 dumps you right into the middle of a busy downtown right from the start.

—Owen Gleiberman, in Variety, November 6, 2021.

the Washington Post, 28 October 2021The first season of Emily in Paris tracked the title heroine’s transition from Chicago to Paris and the glamorous cultural shock of relocating from the Windy City to the City of Lights.

Cogdill, sun-sentinel.com, October 6, 2021 Examples of the word “cultural shock” were compiled automatically from various internet news sources to represent current usage of the phrase “culture shock.” It is not the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors that the viewpoints stated in the examples are correct.

Stages and Symptoms of Culture Shock – International Student Advising and Programs

The sensation of culture shock is prevalent when someone is relocated to a foreign country for the first time. This is a typical reaction to being in a new setting where you are no longer in complete control, as you were at your previous location.

When adjusting to a new culture, you may feel a range of emotions, ranging from enthusiasm and intrigue to frustration, sadness, and fear of the unknown. In the context of culture shock, what occurs to people when they are exposed to strange settings and situations is described as follows:

Symptoms of culture shock

People differ widely in their reactions to culture shock, yet virtually everyone is touched by it in some way or another at some point throughout their lives. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Irritation over minor delays and other minor frustrations
  • Suffering from body pains and aches
  • Wishing to be back home
  • Unjustly criticizing local customs or ways of doing things
  • Feeling isolated or helpless
  • Sleeping a lot or tiring easily

Stages of culture shock

The following are the five stages of cultural shock:

  1. The Honeymoon Stage is characterized by high levels of optimism and curiosity, as well as the anticipation of new and exciting experiences. You even extol the virtues of the host culture. Anger and hostility- You begin to believe that what is different is in fact inferior than what is like. The host culture is difficult to understand, and the systems are difficult to use. To go from stating that they do things a different way to saying that they do things in a dumb way is only a tiny step. If you are dissatisfied with the new culture (and its inadequacies), rather than with the adaptation process, you might place the blame on the culture. Slow but steady improvement in your state of mind
  2. You become more calm and create a more balanced and objective view of your experience. You get a new sense of belonging and sensitivity to the host culture as a result of your biculturalism adaptation. Re-entry Shock: When you return home, you find that it is not what you imagined it to be.

Explore by topic: Canadian Culture

What exactly is it? We experience culture shock when we are uprooted from our cultural environment and placed in a new situation where the language, gestures, customs, signs, and symbols that have previously helped us to make sense of our surroundings have either lost their meaning or have acquired new meanings. When we are uprooted from our cultural environment, we experience a series of transitions that include: Most importantly, we have lost our social supports (family, friends, classmates, and coworkers), and we are forced to start over in a world where things are constantly changing and becoming more unpredictable.

  • What can I do to avoid it?
  • Being able to anticipate the feelings you may experience, as well as understanding the cycle of adjustment, should help to reduce the amount of difficulty you experience when adjusting to life in the United States.
  • In what phases do people go through when they experience culture shock and cultural adjustment?
  • You have a bright outlook and are inclined to concentrate on the positive features of your new surroundings.
  • You may notice any of the following sensations or actions beginning to manifest themselves:
  • Insomnia and confusion
  • Acute homesickness for family, friends, and places
  • Loneliness
  • Feeling helpless
  • Irritability
  • Sadness and depression
  • Frequent frustration
  • Being easily angered
  • Fatigue
  • Withdrawing from friends or other people
  • Self-doubt and a sense of failure
  • Recurrent illness
  • A strong desire to return home

Three, or the “Recovery and Adjustment stage,” is when you gradually get more comfortable in the new culture and are able to perform successfully at work or school. With time, you will get more comfortable with the differences and will be able to broaden your social network. You are getting more objective in your outlook on things, and you are becoming more adaptable. “Reverse Culture Shock” — Do not underestimate the amount of adjustment that will be necessary when you return home from your trip.

How long do you think it will take for the unpleasant sensations to subside?

Your friend may appear to be adjusting without difficulty, while you are struggling to cope.

Each person’s experience is therefore unique. Additionally, people frequently go back and forth between the stages throughout their stay. Suggestions on how to make your transition as seamless as possible are provided.

  • Recognize that what you’re going through is completely natural. Please keep in mind that the bad sensations are just transient, natural, and are typical to each change that a person goes through in their life
  • Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself enough time to work through this process. Maintain your health and well-being. Exercise, eat healthy, and practice relaxation and stress reduction strategies are all recommended. Keep a sense of humour about yourself. Be able to laugh at yourself and at the situations that you find yourself in
  • Resist the desire to continuously criticize the nation that you are visiting. Begin intentionally searching for logical explanations for everything that occurs in the United States that is weird, puzzling, or potentially dangerous. There is a reason why Americans conduct themselves in a different manner than individuals in your nation. Most importantly, if you are going through a tough time, do not be hesitant to talk to someone about it, especially if you are considering leaving the United States of America. You can always seek advice from family members, friends, members of your host department, or members of the Services to International Students and Scholars Office, all of whom have a great deal of expertise with the task at hand. Professional counseling is a valuable resource that is offered to all students at no cost and is frequently included in an employer’s health insurance plan. More information may be found in the COUNSELING section below.

Guidebooks to assist you in navigating your transition When you arrive in San Francisco, you may find copies of the following novels, which were published in the United States but are available on the internet or at any local bookshop or library. American Ways: A Guide for Foreigners in the United States is a guide for foreigners in the United States. Gary Althen’s Intercultural Press published a second version of his book (2002) Stress Management for Dummies is a book written by Allen Elkin.

  • Transitions William Bridges is the author of this piece.
  • Park Avenue Books is a publishing house located on Park Avenue in New York City (1997).
  • Levine, with contributions from other authors.

International students and cultural shock

Moving away from home and traveling to a new country to study may be a difficult experience, even if it is something you have planned and prepared for in advance. Many individuals are taken aback when they encounter the effects of culture shock, and it might be comforting to know that your experience is quite typical. What is the definition of Cultural Shock? Culture shock is defined as the psychological consequence of transitioning from one culture to another that is unfamiliar. It consists of adjusting to a new environment, meeting a large number of new people, and becoming acquainted with the customs of a new nation.

  1. There are a variety of factors that might lead to culture shock.
  2. You may find it difficult to adjust to the grayness and moisture of the environment, particularly during the winter months.
  3. Some overseas students find it difficult to follow the lecture and read the materials in the classroom setting.
  4. If English is not your native language, you may find yourself missing the language of your birthplace.
  5. Individuals may look chilly, distant, or constantly in a hurry, to name a few characteristics.

You may notice that the connections between men and women are more or less formal than you are accustomed to, as well as disparities in same-sex social contact and relationships, depending on your cultural background.

Every culture has unspoken norms that influence the way people interact with one another, in addition to the apparent things that strike you as soon as you step foot on its soil, such as sights, sounds, scents, and flavors. These may be less evident, but sooner or later you will almost certainly come across them, and the result may be disorienting once more. As an example, there will be variances in the methods in which individuals determine what is essential, how tasks are assigned, and how time is tracked.

  • Make a point of being on time for all of your lessons, seminars, and meetings with academic and administrative personnel.
  • You may initially become aware of cultural variations in your physical environment (e.g., cuisine, clothes, and behavior) before realizing that individuals from other cultures may have radically different perspectives on the world than you do on the same subject matter.
  • Being surprised and occasionally distressed to discover that others do not share some of your most firmly held convictions may be disheartening, especially when we take our basic values and beliefs for granted and think they are shared by everyone.
  • Consider what individuals say or do in the context of their own cultural standards to get a better understanding of them.
  • When you have a thorough understanding of both cultures, you will almost certainly find features of both that you enjoy and some that you despise.
  • A new culture may prove to be quite tough for your spouse during this period of transition.
  • Because of the language barrier, even simple chores can become difficult.
  • If you are experiencing stress as a result of cultural adjustment and would like to learn ways for dealing with your transition more successfully, please contact us at the Counseling Center.

Please contact us. Numerous foreign students find that counseling may assist them in learning new coping skills, generating ideas on how to connect with others, and receiving support as they navigate the many transitions they are going through at the moment.

Culture Shock – Culture and Psychology

Individuals may feel culture shock as a result of the acculturation process, which occurs when they are placed in a cultural milieu that is distinct from their own. Disorientation may also refer to the feeling of being out of one’s comfort zone when confronted with a new way of life, such as when relocating to a new nation, traveling to a new country, changing social situations (e.g., moving away for college), or transitioning to a different sort of lifestyle (e.g, dating after divorce). Common issues associated with culture shock include: loss of status (e.g., from provider to unemployed), unfamiliar social systems and social norms (e.g., relying on agencies rather than extended kin networks), distance from family and friends, information overload, language barriers, generational gaps, and possible technological gaps, to name a few examples.

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There are four unique phases of culture shock, each of which has its own set of symptoms:


Because of the romantic nature of this time period, the disparities between old and modern culture are regarded in a romantic light. For example, after relocating to a new nation, an individual may fall in love with the new cuisine, the slower pace of life, and the customs of the inhabitants. During the first few weeks, the majority of individuals are enthralled by the unfamiliar culture. They associate with people who speak their own language and who are kind to visitors from other countries.


When the differences between the old and new cultures become more obvious over time (typically three months or longer, depending on the individual), it may cause worry or anguish to the person experiencing them. As one continues to encounter unpleasant situations that are foreign and irritating to one’s own cultural mindset, excitement may ultimately give way to aggravation, frustration, and fury. Language hurdles, severe variations in public cleanliness, traffic safety, food accessibility and quality, and other factors that cause people to feel disconnected from their environment may exacerbate these sentiments.

While navigating culture shock, we may experience insomnia as a result of the disruption of our circadian rhythm, digestive problems as a result of the disruption of our gut flora as a result of the different bacteria levels and concentrations in food and water, and difficulty in obtaining healthcare or treatment (e.g., medicines with different names or active ingredients).

The inability to communicate effectively in another language may prove to be a significant impediment to establishing new relationships.

International students frequently experience anxiety and increased pressure as they transition to new cultures, owing to the increased focus placed on their reading and writing abilities in particular.


When enough time has passed (often 6 to 12 months), individuals normally become acclimated to their new environment and establish habits. The host nation no longer has that “new” feel to it, and life returns to “normal.” Individuals have acquired problem-solving abilities for coping with the new culture, and the majority of people are accepting of the new culture with a positive attitude. Negative reactions and responses to the culture have lessened as a result of the culture starting to make sense to people.


It is possible to participate completely and easily in the host culture during the adaptation stage, but this does not imply complete conversion or absorption. Many characteristics of one’s home culture, such as accents, language, and values, are frequently retained by one’s adopted society. This stage is referred to as the bicultural stage in some circles.

Culture Shock Stages: Everything You Need to Know

Moving to a foreign country may be an exhilarating experience. You may anticipate to find yourself exploring new area, meeting new people, and doing new activities during your time in the program. But for some, it may be a tough and overwhelming period, particularly if you are a first-time expat or international student who has never experienced life in a foreign country before. While some people are able to adjust quickly, others may require more time to become acquainted with the culture of a new nation.

What is Culture Shock?

People who are unexpectedly exposed to a foreign culture and way of life experience culture shock, which is characterized by a sense of confusion and disorientation. There are several factors that can contribute to it, both large and minor, like unusual greetings and hand gestures, weird food, challenging language hurdles, getting lost in a new place, and creating a cultural faux pas because you were unfamiliar with the local norm. This unfamiliarity might result in sensations such as perplexity, worry, frustration, loneliness, and homesickness, among other things, in the individual.

Culture Shock Stages

Many scholars have written about culture shock, and it is widely acknowledged that the process may be divided into four stages: the honeymoon period, the negotiation stage, the adjustment stage, and the adaptation stage. Continue reading to learn more about each of the stages. Sverre Lysgaard’s 1955 book is the source.

1. Honeymoon Stage

The Honeymoon Stage is the initial stage of culture shock, and it can endure for many weeks or even months depending on the individual and the situation. Here, you’ll be intrigued by all the interesting and distinctive features of your new existence – from the sights and scents to the speed of life and cultural practices – throughout the ecstatic period. The parallels between the new culture and your own are immediately apparent, and you find the inhabitants to be welcoming and kind at this time.

In fact, you may find things that might be a bother back home, such as a traffic gridlock, to be humorous and delightful in your new environment. Although it is terrible, the honeymoon phase must eventually come to an end.

2. Negotiation Stage

The next step is the bargaining stage, which is characterized by feelings of disappointment and worry. This often occurs around the three-month mark, however it can occur sooner in certain cases. As the enthusiasm fades away, you are constantly confronted with obstacles or uncomfortable situations that may insult you or cause you to feel estranged from the world around you. Even the most innocuous of things can set you off. Maybe you can’t remember how to get back to your old house because the street signs are complicated, or you’re having trouble figuring out what to order in a restaurant because the menu is complex.

Physical symptoms can frequently manifest themselves at this time, and you may encounter minor health problems as a result of the transitional period.

3. Adjustment Stage

Fortunately, this period will come to an end as you begin to transition into the adjustment phase, which typically takes between six and twelve months. This is the stage at which life gradually begins to improve and a sense of routine begins to set in. Beginning you gain your bearings and become more familiar with the local way of life, food, and customs, you begin to feel more at ease. By this time, you may have made a few acquaintances and learned a few phrases in the local language, which will assist you in adjusting to and better understanding the culture of the country.

4. Adaptation Stage

Finally, you will reach the adaptation stage, which is also known as the bicultural stage in certain circles. You are now more at ease in your new nation and have become more integrated — you have effectively adapted to your new way of life and are enjoying it. You no longer feel alone and lonely, and you have been accustomed to your new daily activities and social circle of acquaintances. It’s possible that you’ll never be able to recapture the feelings of bliss that you had during the honeymoon period, but you’ve established a strong sense of belonging and finally feel at ease in your new environment.

5. Re-entry Shock

In addition, it is vital to highlight that the procedure may reach the fifth step at some point. When you return home after living abroad for a lengthy period of time, you may experience re-entry or reverse culture shock. After a short period of time, you may see that things have changed dramatically from when you left and that you no longer feel at home because your family, friends, and even your hometown have changed and gone on without you.

It is possible that you may be disappointed to discover that your newly acquired habits and traditions are not relevant in your home country, and that you will have to go through the entire process of adjustment and adaptation again!

How to Deal With Culture Shock

Whether you like it or not, culture shock is an unavoidable element of living overseas, so it’s better to accept the fact that it will happen and prepare yourself to adjust as fast as you can once you arrive. Here are some suggestions for dealing with culture shock to the best of your ability:

1. Remember that it’s normal

Keep in mind that this is something that most foreigners go through. Culture shock does not necessarily indicate that something is wrong. Eventually, you will be able to look back on this period of your life with warm recollections because it is a normal part of the expatriate experience. As a result of being granted the chance to live in a different area of the world and learn about various cultures and traditions, you will encounter both the positive and negative aspects of your new life.

2. Make your own space

Traveling light is a wonderful thing, but be sure to leave room in your baggage for a few indulgences that will enable you to make your new home your own. A favorite pillow or a framed painting may make a significant impact in the way you feel in your room and can help you feel more at ease sooner. Create an escape zone where you can go when things get a little too much for you to handle on your own.

3. Keep an open mind

When dealing with culture shock, one of the most successful strategies is to retain an open mind and be receptive to the unexpected events that come your way. Make a commitment to saying yes as often as possible. Allow yourself to be invited to gatherings, try unfamiliar food, volunteer to assist a new acquaintance, and become acquainted with the customs and traditions of your new surroundings. Of course, you should use common sense and make certain that you stay safe, healthy, and that you do not push yourself too hard when competing.

4. Explore

Make an effort not to isolate yourself too much. Get out there and see what you can find. Feel free to immerse yourself in the tourist experience. Taking public transportation is an excellent option for accomplishing this. Take a ride around the city with your camera, or make a commitment to visiting a new location every day, even if it’s only a small detour down a different street on your way back to your apartment. If nothing else, you could learn about a faster way to go to work, discover a new hangout where you can relax, or take a wonderful snapshot to share with friends and family back home.

5. Find something you really love

Find something to do in your new house that you enjoy doing. It might be anything from meandering through a museum to sipping coffee in a park to climbing through the mountains to a variety of activities. In this way, if circumstances get tough, you may return to that memory or place to lift your spirits and remind yourself of why you came to this nation in the first place.

6. Set yourself a project

Find yourself a project to work on. Keep yourself occupied with something new and fascinating, whether it’s learning how to create a traditional meal, practicing the steps of a traditional dance, or memorizing some important words in the local language.

Having a project to focus on will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and will distract you from concentrating on your culture shock for too long.


Keep in mind that culture shock is an unavoidable element of the experience of living in a foreign country. Through acceptance of what it is and the development of coping mechanisms, you may avoid being depressed and instead focus on appreciating your new surroundings.

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