Guide to Culture Shock
Culture shock is defined as a feeling of confusion resulting from experiencing a culture with customs and etiquette that you are unfamiliar with.1 Symptoms of culture shock include irritability, digestive problems, lethargy, headache, anger, moodiness, and sleep problems.2 Many people immigrating to the US experience culture shock and adjusting to a new country can be difficult. Our immigration bond specialists at US Immigration Bonds share tips to overcome culture shock.
Stages of Culture Shock
Culture shock can be broken down into four stages3:
- Honeymoon Stage, in which you have a positive and exciting outlook at the country you’re immigrating to.
- Irritability, in which you feel that the differences between your old culture and this new culture are problematic. This is the most difficult stage of culture shock, where customs and etiquette changes are difficult to stomach.
- Gradual Integration, where you have begun to better adjust to your new culture. Usually this involves feeling more relaxed about culture differences and less confused.
- Biculturalism, in which most people begin to identify with both their home culture and the culture of their new home.
How to Overcome Culture Shock
The irritability stage of culture shock is one of the most difficult to overcome. You may be missing your old friends, having trouble with American customs, or having trouble adjusting to this new environment. Our immigration bail team suggests these tips for dealing with culture shock:
- Stay in regular contact with your friends and family from home.
- Bring familiar items from home with you.
- Find communities of people with a similar home culture as you.
- Eat a balanced diet of new foods but choose familiar foods as well.
- Educate yourself on American cultural differences so you know what to expect.
- Remember that different isn’t necessarily bad, and the unfamiliar can become familiar.
Many people experience culture shock when coming to the United States. Differences in food, environment, etiquette, and social customs can be challenging to adjust to. But, dealing with culture shock is possible. In time, you can find your place in a new country.