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6 tips to face cultural shock

Written by: Vidhya

6 tips to face cultural shock

Experience of culture shock is common when you live in a foreign country for a long period of time. Culture shock can be defined as the experience that you may feel more like homesickness, it is the feeling of confusion, unsureness and uneasiness in unfamiliar surroundings. There are different ways to deal with culture shock. We give a list of ways to adapt and survive cultural shock.

Keeping an open mind

  • Do not perceive things that are unusual to be "wrong" or "negative". 
  • Be an objective observer that will help you in cross-cultural understanding. 
  • Do background study about the country you are going to. 
  • Learn about the country and keep an open mind.

Try to learn the local language

  • Learning the local language will enhance your communication skills and helps you mingle with the local community. 
  • It also shows your interest in the new country.

Get used to the social conduct of your new surroundings

  • Do not make assumptions or interpret behaviour from your cultural perception. 
  • Phrases used to acknowledge might be different in your new environment, do not regard this behaviour as "rude", "uncaring" or "superficial". 
  • The foreigner may know otherwise and would not be offended if you did not take time to respond.

Do not consider cultural familiarity or knowledge at face-value

  • Even as you become more familiar about rituals and customs in your new environment, be careful not to feature an explanation about what you assume you know. 
  • It does take time to understand a culture in its social and historical context.

Get to know people in your new surroundings

  • Do ask questions respectfully.
  • Read local newspapers. 
  • Try going to a variety of festivals and events.

Maintain a sense of humour

  • Don't be harsh on yourself if you do not know what to do in a social situation. 
  • Laugh at your mistakes, others will laugh with you. 
  • Most people will admire your willingness to understand their ways. 
  • Do not be judgmental or compare culture that will show you in a veil of superiority.

Reading about cultural shock can prepare you for the adventure and challenge of an inter-cultural experience, yet, reading can lead you only to a minimum extent. More important is the value of face to face cultural experience you can gain, than what you get from reading.

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