Coping with Culture Shock

Anita and her family have just moved in to their new house. In her new school, Anita is surprised to see several things she is not used in seeing in her previous school. These changes are so overwhelming to her that she feels sad and anxious. She always feels frustrated and longs for her old school. Anita is experiencing a culture shock.

What is culture shock?

Culture shock is more of a feeling than a clinical term. It is described as a sensation of overwhelming confusion and nervousness upon leaving a familiar culture to face a totally different one. It is brought about by the changes one sees in a new environment.

What causes culture shock?

If you have been in an environment for so long or have been deeply immersed in a culture everything around you in that culture becomes second-nature whether you are aware of it or not. Culture shock happens when you are exposed to an unfamiliar surrounding or a culture that is not yours. For instance, if you are used to living a laid-back lifestyle, you may find it difficult to cope if you are in a culture characterized by fast-paced lifestyle.

What are the feelings when experiencing culture shock?

While some people get very when exposed to a new culture, others feel the other way around. Here are some of the common sensations when experiencing culture shock: frustration, overwhelming homesickness, loneliness, sadness, having negative views of the new culture, anxiety, feeling misunderstood, problems in concentration, and feeling of isolating oneself.

How to cope up with culture shock?

One way of coping is to learn the language. If you come from a different country, it is best that you learn the native language of the host country. Not being understood may be frustrating. You may want to attend language classes. You also have to have knowledge of the nonverbal cues and their meaning.

You also have to study and observe the culture to learn more about it. Some of the best places to do that are in the park, mall, and school where there is a lot of interaction between people. You may also get some insight on television or movies.

Getting help

The best way to get some help is through your family. Some of them may have dealt with culture shock before and were able to cope up with it. You can also get help by making new friends who are new to the culture themselves. They may even have some ideas about it that can help you. Another way is by seeking the help of a counselor or your teachers. They are trained to deal with matters like these. They may even share you some of their personal experiences concerning culture shock.