The 5 Stages of Culture Shock
Once you arrive in the USA, you may experience what many international students and newcomers to the country experience – culture shock.
Although this promises to be one of the most exciting experiences of your life, your initial reactions to encountering a totally different culture may be more negative than positive. This is culture shock and it is natural and normal. The best way to deal with it is to understand it before you go, and to know how to overcome it.
Stages of Culture Shock:
Stage 1: The Honeymoon Phase
During the honeymoon stage you are curious, positive, and anticipating new and exciting experiences. You idealize your host culture and you feel like you’re on an adventure!
Stage 2: Crisis
During the crisis phase you may become hostile, irritable, and bored. You may even ﬁnd yourself criticizing local customs or the way the people around you do things. You may also become withdrawn, or experience aches and pains, homesickness and you may sleep a lot. Your feelings of loneliness and strangeness will not be helped if other students or people you encounter are ignorant about your native country, or if they display negative feelings about the country you call home. You could well feel defeated during this stage.
Stage 3: Adjustment
During the adjustment stage you will become more relaxed and familiar with your surroundings. You may also begin to learn more about the habits and beliefs of people who are diﬀerent to you. Your life will feel a lot more balanced. You will understand and accept your host culture and any negative feelings gradually turn into a positive, more tolerant attitude.
Stage 4: Cultural Adaptation
During the cultural adaption stage, you begin to feel a sense of belonging and an easier understanding of the host culture. You have a greater sense of well-being and security.
Stage 5: Feeling at Home
During the home stage you feel right at home in your host country! You’re experimenting with new behaviors, habits and customs. You are becoming an emotionally mature person able to adapt with less eﬀort than before.
Understanding culture shock and how it manifests will help you deal with these feelings and this, in turn, will help you grow as a person and embrace this adventure.
There’s more in our e-Guides about culture shock and how to survive it! Download here!