Culture shock – how to cope with it?


Those who thinking of living abroad will face a number of challenges including communication difficulties and settling into a new community.But perhaps the biggest challenge is the culture shock. What is it? How to cope with it?

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Well, one day you may find yourself objecting to everything about the host culture: the way the people drive, queue, greet you, their habits and attitudes towards everything around you such as litter and personal space. This is common. People can not avoid thinking that their own culture does things “the right way”. Everything else is, therefore, wrong.

But try to change your mindset. There are no cultural rights or wrongs, only differences. What’s more, if you are committed to staying in a foreign country for more than a few days, you can’t afford to be critical of everything around you. It will make your life miserable.

The greatest divider of nations is ignorance, so the first solution is knowledge. It will be good to find out as much as you can about the host culture before you arrive – its customs, people, priorities and manners. When you have finished it, if you really can’t imagine making a new life there, go somewhere else.

Try to take the attitude that diversity is interesting. No one would really want to live in a world in which every culture is the same, so observe and enjoy the differences. Eventually, you will come to accept them.
Some experts believe that it’s almost impossible not to have culture shock at all when moving to another place, but this information will help you to reduce it:

  • Remember, that culture shock is not forever. With some time it will pass by.
  • Try to have a childish point of view to your circumstances. Don’t have fears and be curious. If you think that someone offended you, maybe it’s only your wrong reaction, not in people near you.
  •  Don’t be afraid to learn something new and accept that in some cases local children know more than you, so forget about your pride.
  •  Be busy, find a new hobby: go for a walk more, visit libraries, talk with other people, go in for sports and study languages. Your aim is to make goals and achieve them.
  •  Learn about most of the traditions and cultural peculiarities of the country before going there.
  •  Don’t fully believe all the knowledge that you got before coming: some of its parts can be just stereotypes. Locals know better than you.
  •  Find more time for some rest at the end of the day and try to sleep more.
  • Don’t make any important decisions during some first days there.
  •  Talk with other tourists and take part in the city activities.
  •  Don’t drink alcohol much, as it may suppress your emotional stability more.
  • Be interested in the new place and think that culture shock can give you much energy and cheer you.
  • Try not to be involved in conflicts.

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Share ur view in comments: What are your ways to reduce culture shock? Do you think that sometimes it can affect you positively or even help you somehow?

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