Cultural Anthropology

Culture Shock

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Have you ever tried going to another country and you cannot understand the language, there is a different taste in food, and different habits from yours, and other examples of what you might experience the first time you visit a country? Then you are experiencing culture shock.

The term culture shock was coined in the 1960’s. It is a condition affecting someone who suddenly been exposed to unfamiliar way of life or set attitudes. It’s an experience moving from a familiar culture to unfamiliar. There is a problem in the communication when you experience it. This is due to the lack of understanding of both verbal and non-verbal communications with the new culture. The effect of culture shock may trigger your emotions such as anxiety, disorientation, excitement and shock. These are mostly experienced by those people who find jobs in other countries, immigrants, and foreign students. People have their own experiences in culture shock. It maybe that they lack food and they have no choice but find something to eat and it’s their first time to taste it. Some people may find different bathroom facilities that are different to theirs.  Others may find some unacceptable standards of cleanliness.

There are five stages where people may experience culture shock

1st stage- It’s the excitement you feel during the flight and after you got out of the plane. You get fascinated with the new culture and customs.

2nd stage- Your excitement turns to disappointment as you cannot relate to the people’s way of living. You are starting to get irritated because you get disoriented as the culture gets to be different. You think of ways of how to get over it, such as say rude things and remarks because you are not able to relate.

3rd stage- You are starting to understand the culture and trying to accept it. You learn more about it and change your negative outlook and views to positive.

4th stage- You already feel comfortable. You start to plan what activities are related to that new culture and you start joining in. As you learn about their customs, you respect and internalize it.

5th stage- You are going home and you are still trying to sink in the experience you had in that country. You still feel initial euphoria, confusion or dissatisfaction. You are still readjusting but you are very excited to share your experiences with your family and friends.

In order for you to cope with culture shock, try to learn by observing and listening how, when, and why the culture and customs were created before judging how different others are. The thing is always be open, acceptable and careful of what you say or do.

More about this author: Joyce Ann Mallare - 541627

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