Moving to another country is a significant change that can provoke many new emotions. One of the most common things that people experience when they travel frequently or move to a new country is culture shock. Culture shock can often appear to feel more like homesickness, but it can become a more underlying issue that can ultimately affect you during your home. It is important to understand what culture shock is and the stages people go through when adjusting to a new culture, customs, and language.
What Is Culture Shock?
Culture shock is disorientation experienced when suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture or way of life. This is common for many people who move overseas because everything is unfamiliar. For example, some of the differences may include the weather, landscape, language, food, social roles, values, and even communication. You might discover that the business is conducted differently, or even that stores open and close at unexpected hours. Some may also stop serving breakfast before the time you’re used to waking up.
Humans are creatures of habit. For that reason, experiencing so many changes can leave some in shock. Common symptoms of culture shock include feelings of sadness and loneliness, headaches and pain, insomnia, sleeping too much, depression, insecurity, an overwhelming sense of homesickness, or even feeling lost or confused.
Stages of Culture Shock
There are common stages that people go through when moving to a new country. The following stages are important to keep in mind when you move to a new country.
- Honeymoon Stage: this is the feeling you get when you first arrive in a new country. You’re inspired by the differences you see and experience. You might feel excited to discover more about the new place.
- Distress Stage: this is when everything you were experiencing in stage one no longer feels new. In fact, this is when they start to feel strange, and you feel like you’re no longer experiencing new things. It is common for people to feel confused and alone in this stage.
- Re-Integration Stage: During this stage, you start to refuse to accept the differences you encounter. You might even feel anger and frustration about things or systems that are different from what you are used to.
- Autonomy Stage: This is the stage where you begin to accept and start to feel like yourself again. You begin to live and get accustomed to the changes. You may start to appreciate those changes and begin to consider them part of your new customs.
- Independence Stage: this is the stage when you feel like yourself again, and you start to appreciate the new life you live. You no longer wish for things to be different, nor do you feel alone. This is the stage when the new country finally starts to feel like home.
Symptoms of Culture Shock
Every person is affected differently by culture shock. Not only will their symptoms vary, but they may experience them at different times or in varying degrees of severity. When you know what these symptoms are, however, you can do something about it.
The following are common symptoms of culture shock to watch for:
- Feeling bored
- Feelings of isolation or helplessness
- Being easily irritated, even over minor things
- Body pains and aches
- Withdrawal and wanting to be alone
- Longing to go home
- Excessive criticism of local customs/people
- Tiredness and fatigue
How to Deal with Culture Shock
You can deal with culture shock by first recognizing the symptoms and then making a decision to do something about it. You and your spouse, partner, or family can work together to manage culture shock and get adjusted to your new home.
Here are a few helpful tips for dealing with culture shock:
- Recognize that it might take time to get adjusted.
- Try to focus on positive things about your new home, like the food, weather, or anything else that stands out as something you like and can enjoy.
- Get involved with the community, local groups, sports, or other activities.
- Focus on taking care of yourself by eating well and getting enough sleep.
- Stay in contact with friends and family members from back home.
- Get outside and see the sights, visit local restaurants, take a walk, or go to the park.
- Try to make new friends by reaching out to your neighbors, co-workers, or others you meet.
It may take some time, but you can start to feel more at home in a new country.
Moving to a New Country? Prepare for Change!
If you’re planning on moving to a new country, there are many new experiences and changes you will face. However, as long as you keep yourself engaged and curious when you move, you will soon start to settle in and call it your new home. Before you move it is important to prepare you and your family for the major changes that are to come. Spend time with your loved ones as our moving experts at Affordable Quality Moving & Storage take care of the rest. We provide customers with long-distance and international moves. Whether you need help packing, unpacking, or transportation services, we are ready to help you. Reach out to our team today for an estimate!We are available to assist you with any of your moving needs. Contact our Southern California moving experts today at (661) 622-2636 to schedule an appointment.