Moving to a different country is one of the most exciting and most challenging experiences a person can have. Travelling across the world and encountering a place with a different language and a different culture is a growing experience. It should come as no surprise that most people experience culture shock when they move to a new country. Let’s look at the stages of culture shock and some ways to overcome it.
The 4 Stages of Culture Shock
1.The Honeymoon Stage (Months 1-3)
When you first move to a new country, everything is exotic, fascinating, and exciting! The new experience is so different from your life back in your home country that you feel like you’re on a crazy vacation.
2.The Hostility Stage (Months 4-6)
After you’ve been in a different country for a while, the excitement starts to diminish. You begin to see the flaws in your new host country, and you become very critical. The things that were new and exciting when you first arrived have become commonplace.
3. The Adjustment Stage (Months 7-9)
The initial excitement of moving to a new country is over, and the stings of disappointment from finding out your host country isn’t perfect aren’t as fresh. You are ready to celebrate the good and to accept the bad. You begin to feel relaxed in your new home country. You have a more objective view of things.
4.The “Feeling at Home” stage (Months 10+)
The final stage of culture shock is the least shocking. The new culture doesn’t feel new anymore. It feels normal. You finally feel at home in your host country.
Culture shock is something most people experience, so be prepared. Simply knowing that culture shock is likely be part of your overseas experience will help you better prepare. Here are some tips on overcoming culture shock.
Tips on Overcoming Culture Shock
- Establish a routine as soon as possible. Remember, you are not on vacation!
- Learn the language.
- Learn about cultural customs and why they exist. Refrain from judgement.
- Become friends with work colleagues.
- Become friends with other expats. Celebrate holidays together.
- Use technology to stay in touch with your family and friends back home.
- Make your apartment or house a comfortable place that you love.
- Eat well and Exercise.