Culture Shock?

Culture shock has six main elements:

  • stress from learning about what to do in a new culture
  • feeling lonely, feeling that you have lost your career and position in society, and missing all the comforts of home
  • feeling that you may not be accepted by people from the new culture
  • confusion about what people expect you to do, and about your own expectations, feelings and identity
  • being afraid of making cultural mistakes and also afraid of judging the new culture
  • a feeling of not being able to manage

People with culture shock feel anxious when they lose familiar signs and symbols, for example… when to shake hands and what to say when we meet people, when and how to give tips, how to make purchases, when to accept and when to refuse invitations, when to take statements seriously and when not. In our own cultures, we grow up with these signs and don’t think about them. In a new culture, the social signals are different so often we can be unsure how to respond to a particular situation.