Culture Shock


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    It may comfort you to know that no individual is immune to “culture shock”. Anyone traveling to a different country for the first time – including expatriates who have previously lived in different countries – will inevitably experience “culture shock”. It’s helpful to know what “culture shock” is and the symptoms that accompany this syndrome.

    Culture shock, simply, is an uneasy feeling of disorientation brought on by the inability to respond appropriately to the social cues of another country which you may be introduced to in daily life situations. Your own values, perceptions and ways of doing and organizing things may seem threatened as you begin to notice the differences between your destination country and home. It is the accumulation of this psychological disorientation which is known as culture shock.

    Some key symptoms of culture shock include:

    • Homesickness
    • Boredom
    • Withdrawal
    • Frustration and anxiety
    • Irritability
    • Stereotyping of host nationals
    • Hostility toward host nationals

    Keep in mind that these study abroad culture shock symptoms and others will vary depending upon your length of stay. Most tourists never experience this syndrome because they are seldom faced with the daily realities and situations encountered in the longer-term visitors or the country’s citizens.


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