5 Stages of Culture Shock and how to deal with it

Dear Reader,

If you have ever moved abroad, you have probably faced culture shock. I moved to the countries that have drastically different customs and traditions than I am used to. So I did some research on Culture Shock and there are five clear stages which I will go through and how to deal with each one.

The Honeymoon Phase

This is the phase when everything is new and exciting. You are loving exploring the strange foods sold at every corner and finding your way through the new city. You are getting to know your new work or school and the place you are living in. Nothing anyone says can tint your image of this place and it is as perfect as you expected it to be. This is a phase of culture shock to take advantage of. Go do all the touristy things and see all the wonderful things the city and country have to offer. You will love the things you discover and meet interesting people.

The Irritation and Hostility Phase

This is the exact opposite of the Honeymoon Phase. You will hate everything in this new place and nobody can convince you otherwise. The smallest things will turn into the biggest catastrophes and everything is terrible. The best way to deal with this phase is to know it exists and that you will get through it. Try to notice some things that you still enjoy and do those to compensate for all the negatives culture shock makes you see. This could be anything from the coffee shop you enjoy going to or the meetup group where you made some friends.

Gradual Adjustment

This is the stage when you will start noticing all those small things again. Once you let yourself see that it is not all bad and remember all the things you liked about this city. Getting here can take six months or longer. Slowly things will start to feel normal and you will develop a routine which makes you feel more familiar with the place. If you are in the stage before, you don't think this stage will ever come, but it will eventually start and will go up from there.

Adapting to Biculturalism

This is the stage when the new place is really like home. When you start picking up mannerisms from the host country or at least understand why people do them. You know the buses you need to take and can say a few things in the language of the new country. My family knew we have arrived in Croatia when we started also putting our bags on chairs all the time everywhere and being able to go to the market and buy groceries without too much trouble. It might take six months to one year for this to really establish itself, but once it happens it is the best thing.

Reverse Culture Shock

This is a stage that comes much later than the others. Once you have lived abroad and embraced it as your home, going back to your passport country will be a very different experience. If you are moving back or just visiting, there are many things you will find strange or see in a completely different light. Tasks or mannerisms that used to be normal are now foreign and confusing and nothing is like you remember it. Maybe it is the shop on the corner that is no longer there or the way time works, but whatever it is be aware that it will shock you. This is something to be ready for when going back

Those are the 5 stages of culture shock and how to deal with them. I hope having this information will make it easier for you to get through it and embrace your new home as just that. If you are looking for more moving abroad content, check it out here. If you have any other tips or stories, I would love to hear them in the comments or on social media.



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