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What is 'Culture Shock' and How To Handle it?

What is 'Culture Shock' and How To Handle it?

06 Dec 2022

If, as an expatriate, you were to counter one challenge inevitably and most commonly, it would be a culture shock. Regardless of the purpose of visiting another country, including studying or finding a better employment opportunity to support your family financially through a money transfer from abroad, you can hardly escape from what is commonly referred to as culture shock.

This blog will shed light on culture shock, whether you are countering it, and the remedial measures to counter if you are undergoing it.

What is culture shock?

If you move to another country, you will feel confusion, anxiety, and uncertainty. In the process of trying to adjust to the new environment, this feeling and the entire process is known as culture shock until you finally adjust. 

With your relocation to another country, your routine, eating, and sleeping habits all change entirely and no longer remain the same. 

This sudden but massive change in your routine exacts a heavy toll on your psychological health and leads to frustration and annoyance. Facing these issues and countering them is a normal process; almost every expatriate undergoes it until they adjust to the new settings around them.  

How do I know if I am suffering from culture shock?

If you feel any of the following symptoms, rest assured that you are falling victim to culture shock requiring immediate attendance to mitigate its effects.

  • If you feel homesick;
  • If you feel helpless;
  • If you believe you are isolated from the rest;
  • If you feel disoriented;
  • If you fail to concentrate;
  • If you have a feeling of irritability and sadness;
  • If you feel paranoid and have disturbances in your sleep cycle and diet. 

You must bear in mind that the intensity of these symptoms is higher in culture shock than in regular times when you counter any of these issues owing to many reasons. 

Do I get culture shock all of a sudden? 

No, you don’t!

It is a gradual process, taking place in different stages. 

Expatriates who counter-culture shock undergo the following four stages, which are explained separately below.

Honeymoon period

In this phase, you will have a feeling of excitement and thrill to explore the new country you have chosen to travel to. The ones with short stays in a foreign country will remember this thrill and excitement. But it soon ends for the ones with a more extended stay, including the ones staying for jobs to earn and send money online to support their family financially. 

Frustration period

As soon as the joy of being in another country wears thin, you begin to feel tired to adjust. This fatigue can lead to exhaustion in doing tasks you did easily and quickly previously, mainly if there is a language barrier. 

Adaptation period

In this phase, your fatigue and exhaustion begin to rest. You start to feel more at home than in a strange place and meet people around you and understand them better. People and your surroundings become more familiar with you. 

Acceptance period

In this phase, you are past the previous stages and feel relaxed and enjoy every bit of your stay abroad. You accept things as they are at this point, leading you to perform optimally in whatever you lay your hands on. 

There is not a single expatriate among the over 230 million, which is roughly 3.1% of the total global population, who does not experience culture shock with its different stages one way or the other. 

How do I resolve culture shock?

Following a few tips explained below will help you handle culture shock.

Adjusting takes time

A strange environment in which you fail to understand the norms and other practices is pretty frustrating. Still, it becomes thrilling and exciting simultaneously if you realise that understanding it is a normal process that takes time. 

Accept homesickness

Accepting that you have a problem leads to a solution. In a new country, you are bound to feel homesick. So, accept that you feel it and stay connected with your loved ones; it will help you feel better. 

Focus on the positive

You will unintentionally focus on what is missing in different areas like food, environment, customs, etc. But try to bring your mind to what is available in these areas and think about the positive only. 

Avoid comparisons

Never compare yourself with others around you. You might encounter many expatriates who will be happier than you expect them to be, pushing you into depression and anxiety. 

Keep your mind open

If you cannot keep your mind open to change and adaptability, the culture shock you counter will only intensify. So, keep an open mind, which you can do by meeting new people, exploring new places, etc.

Avoid stress

With a healthy lifestyle and routine that includes exercise and physical exertion as an essential part, you can avoid stress. Bear in mind that your stay in another country will essentially be stressful, adding to the anxiety stemming from culture shock. But a healthy routine will help you counter it. 

With the help of these tips, you will be able to counter and handle culture shock quicker than you might anticipate. 

What is the need for sending money?

Most expatriates agree to face the challenges of going to another country to ensure they support their family financially with a decent income abroad, which in their native country is quite a task. 

ACE Money Transfer – easy and fast remittance transfer service

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