Reducing Culture Shock
After moving to a new
location with a different culture, you may feel an initial sense of happiness
that over time changes to feelings of frustration. If you experience a range of
emotions while in a new culture, then your feelings may be symptomatic of
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce culture
shock before entering your new cultural environment. Before your move, you can
increase the likelihood that culture shock will be reduced by following these
- Adjust sooner rather than later. If possible, try to visit your new
home a couple times before moving. Through books and online research, you can
explore various aspects of your new culture that intersect with your interests.
Also, try to participate in cultural pastimes like festivals and carnivals to
help make your new home more familiar.
- Consider your reasons. Directly address aspects of the move that may
produce apprehensive feelings that aren't related to living in a different
- Make what's foreign familiar. Try to establish what you have in
common with your new culture by asking questions. Maybe a particular food is
prepared with ingredients you like or the music performed with instruments you
can play. Connecting with cultural nuances can provide a more layered and
personal bond with your new location.
- Build a rapport. Try to connect with schools and groups in your new
area before you move. This can be done through e-mails, social media sites, and
phone calls. Creating opportunities to meet people can help you feel more
confident in your efforts to know a new culture.
- Create your own positive outlet. To express your feelings about
moving to another culture, you might want to start a journal, diary, or blog to
chronicle only the positive details about moving to a new cultural
- Consider taking language courses. Feeling as though you are unable to
communicate with others can be a catalyst for culture shock. To avoid this
situation, if you don't know the language spoken in your new location, then
consider taking language courses.
Culture Shock Stages
- Excitement - You are excited to be in a new culture.
- Withdrawal - Everything seems foreign to you, and you feel isolated.
- Adjustment - You feel that you can communicate better with people and feel
more secure in your daily activities.
- Enthusiasm - You feel settled, energized, and comfortable in your
Though there is no way to
guarantee that you won't experience culture shock when you move to a new home,
there are several things you can do to minimize culture shock symptoms. The best
way to prepare against culture shock is to familiarize yourself with the
location as much as possible before you move. Also, talking with others who have
adjusted to a new culture can help keep your perspective positive. Whether you
are moving to a foreign country
or a few hours away, culture shock
can affect you to some degree. It is important to consider how your actions can
reduce feelings that you are in an unfamiliar culture.