The Role of Country in the Impact of Culture Shock
Culture shock is a well known phenomenon due to the integration that’s always happening with people all over the world due to their work, tourism and migrations. It’s a nerve stretching occurrence one experience when exposed to a whole new society or country, also the unfamiliarity of local customs, norms, beliefs and even food which change drastically from one country to another. Some people don’t recognize it due to their unawareness of the fact that their surroundings is affecting them; some tend to consider the weather and changing climate from their home country is the reason or their immune system is trying to cope with new bacteria and germs. These assumptions are right but it’s not the real thing especially once a person starts to feel the “Rollercoaster” emotion it means culture shock is striking.
Many stories came up while researching for this topic which intrigued me to study more this interesting fact. This sentiment doesn’t happen to everyone that travel to a foreign land, there’s no confirmation on why it hits some people but experts claim that it depends on the type of the personality an individual possess and how fast a person can adapt to the change proceeding around him even in their own safe and personal regular surroundings. Numerous business cases report failures from their assigned employees when they travel to another country, due to their ignorance on this matter, plus not knowing exactly how to react in the moments when they feel strange.
I have decided to research this topic since I knew about it a long time ago but never had the chance to go deeper regarding the feelings, symptoms and studies about it. Plus, I traveled to many countries but never experienced it, but some of my family members and close friends did and had different types of mixed feelings when they were away from home. And I decided to understand what they felt and how they adjust by time with culture shock. I would like to investigate on the types and symptoms that one experience when he’s traveling and the adjustment to life abroad since I would love to live outside my home country and experience a new life which would be more decent. For instance, after the wars that happened throughout the past 10 years many migrations happened throughout many countries around the world, and the new comers to foreign lands had difficult times to adjust. Here in Lebanon we had many sightings regarding the migrants doing strange things around Lebanese citizens and they got criticized or asked not to do it which ads up to their disorientation. In one case an NGO asked the refugees in camps in South of Lebanon about their feelings regarding their current situation and the results where mostly negative where they felt unsettled and missing their motherland. They expressed similar approaches for the one that a normal person would have once placed in a different society.
Moreover, students who now travel abroad are more likely to experience it, they experience negative symptoms for example like sadness, melancholy, loneliness, a very high consciousness about their health, lack of confidence, longing to their own families. That’s why many of these students also face difficult times in adjusting their place in a new surrounding and some results for them going back home.
Culture shock comes in 4 stages, tourists might not get the sensation of it since they spend a short period of time from 3 days till a week or two, but individuals who spend time more than a month will definitely experience it. They are the honeymoon stage, the frustration stage, the adjustment stage and the acceptance stage. Starting with the honeymoon stage is the positive feel a person get while traveling to a new country, which is very usual since the individual is keen-sighted on new structures, language, climate and lifestyle. Besides communicating with natives and getting to know their customs is a whole new experience which we all face once we are in a new country. Now as mentioned before as a tourist a person won’t experience negative effects, one would which it would never end but for a person to live in a new country it might become infuriating.
Which would bring us to the frustration stage, its considered to be the most difficult stage in this topic since anyone who lives newly abroad might become frustrated from the people around him due to the lack of the miscommunication due to the foreign language, accepting new signs from hand gestures to even stopping signs which means something entirely new to the newcomer since he never had it in his or her home country.
On another note other simple things can have a big impact for example, not knowing where to purchase a ticket for the train or even knowing the types of cards that can be bought which allows a person to use the train frequently with paying less money, and that would be frustrating to someone his country don’t even have trains and railroads. Keeping in mind many of the advanced countries have technological advancements which are new to many individuals and this might also be a barrier for them, which would make them want to ask for help and another barrier can be found and that is the language gap, since not all people know the English language many just speak their own native language. Frustration stage is very critical, since it could be a turning point to many travelers who are on business, studying and migrating. The third stage is the adjustment stage where many voyagers start to feel calmer and adjusting to the new culture, language, citizens and even lifestyle. After some time spent on asking for directions and getting to know the acquiring of the basic needs, life becomes easier on a person. People living in Europe or America mainly tend to be in this stage particularly if an individual is coming from a third world country, their home nation lack many industrial or technological intelligence. Therefore, after a while they’ll become accustomed to the new ways of transportations, norms and culture.
The final stage is the acceptance stage, in this part many by now have become well adjusted to the life their in. However, it doesn’t mean their living peacefully and in full harmony, but they’re trying to be at ease and realizing they are understanding how to function in their new surroundings. In this phase they would be able to know where to gather their means to be comfortable and composed. These four stages highlight the reality we are set on once we are transferred to a different location that we are used to. It’s true not all people might feel those effects but there’s a country that might make every person in the world fell them. Saudi Arabia can be overwhelming to many individuals even for Muslims, since this country is built upon many restrictions and limitations in life. Most people have a lot of advantages in their republics but once they’re placed in the Arabic countries those privileges are removed from their rights. This place is a deeply conservative Islamic State and Islam governs all characteristics of life. While religion is the dominating aspect there non Muslims are allowed to practice their religion but in secrecy and without showing it to others, plus a person must avoid talking about religion openly due to the severe punishment the state has set. And one must not show any religious symbols or jewelry.
Generally, people living there are forbidden from many things including, drinking alcohol or eating pork food, there’s no cinemas or theatres which would allow their people to have some fun. While also on television many scenes of movies are cut off and many movies are prohibited due to immoral or sexual content. Luckily there are compounds where Westerners reside in them, which allows them to keep in touch with their routines that they are used to back home, they have malls, food franchises and even the satellite television channels which would allow the individuals there to feel at home and reduce the side effects of culture shock.
After knowing what culture shock with all its elements, there are many ways which allows us to fight it and making us feel it less. Starting with a reminder to ourselves that what we are feeling is perfectly normal, while keeping in touch with our loved ones, family and friends and getting their support is a moral boost. Many have tried to eat familiar food which reminded them of home plus maintaining habbits they used to do before like reading a book, watching movies and series, also getting along with citizens in doing activities which both parties like. And finally getting out trying new things, clubbing and meeting new people helps a person to enjoy life there more. In my personal experience I only experienced 3 stages out of 4 and for some this might be applicable. I had the chance to live abroad in Cyprus, this country is a European one where they have many MANY things different than Lebanon and when I first went there I felt the honeymoon stage and it was amazing. I also felt like I didn’t want it to end plus wished to live there forever. At first there was many services I was ignorant about from buying a cell number, to subscribing on the internet service of my house and I felt confused since their system was very different than the one I was used to. But after asking fellow Cypriots regarding how things are obtained it felt so easy, which led me to the third and fourth stage easily. After 3 weeks I felt like a Cypriot who lived there for years, and enjoyed my stay since I was very happy with the privileges the country offers from fun, sports, clubbing and many other activities.
Another person that experienced this case is my sister; after graduating my sister started traveling the world on business since she was a prodigy in her field. She went to many Arabic and European countries. Her toughest experiences were in the Islamic countries, she was prohibited from many privileges that she normally had in Lebanon and European ones. Turkey was the country she felt the four stages in, since she had to live in it for a while in a town where Islam is very strict and had to go away from the town in order to have some fun with her coworkers and unwind. She couldn’t eat their food since they add to many spices which made her stomach hurt, plus she was surrounded by a closed minded society. She went into depression for a short period of time but luckily the company’s psychologist helped her snap out of it, while guiding her throughout the rest of the stages. Now till this day she still travels to Turkey for work but try as much as possible to do her assignments fast so she could go back to her home in Netherlands.
In my opinion after studying this case plus experiencing it from a different angle I think the country has a big role on the impact of culture shock. Depending on the country and how people perceive the reality their facing, it will work in a way to have an influence on the individuals but knowing the ways to evade all the negative effect is a boost for a person to have a better understanding on what he’s going to face in a new environment.
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Culture shock is a well known phenomenon due to the integration that’s always happening with people all over the world due to their work, tourism and migrations. It’s a nerve […]