Every relocation out of the country brings a large new quantity of data for us to perceive, understand and cope with. It is a challenge that may seem like an unfamiliar and difficult to handle territory but it doesn’t have to happen this way. It is normal to find yourself in a country with customs and ways you don’t understand. It is a matter of a different lifestyle and it is ok for you to notice that. The only way to successfully overcome culture shock is to try and understand the place you are at right now. Here is a list with a few things that you can do to manage culture shock better. Our guide will give you ways for coping with culture shock in a pdf too which you can easily download and use. The file is available for free download at the end of this article.
How to recognize culture shock?
Before we talk about strategies to cope with culture shock we should first say what it is and how you can recognize it. Usually when a person arrives at a new country in the beginning everything seems interesting and positive. A few weeks later, after you have began adapting to the local way of life you may find yourself feeling not so happy any more but rather frustrated, confused and uncomfortable. These are some signs of your clash with the local culture. After this time passes and you no longer feel so irritated, annoyed and uncomfortable, you will get to the third stage of adapting to a new environment which will be the time when you make peace with where you are. You will begin to accept the lifestyle and customs of the local population and feel more relaxed about it. In the meantime, when overcoming culture shock you will need some useful tips to cope and feel better sooner.
In what ways can we cope with culture shock?
In order to manage culture shock better follow our tips:
- Take some emotionally valuable items when packing for a move. Pick a few things that will remind you of the fun you have had in your previous home and take them with you. These could be CD’s with your favorite music, photographs with your family and friends, small souvenirs or other things. You can hang photos on the walls in your new home to remind you of your family and friends and that you are not alone. If you’re thinking: “In what ways can I cope with culture shock?”, this is one of the things that can be helpful when you’re homesick.
- Stay in touch. As you look for ways to cope with culture shock, keep in touch with your family and friends back home. Since you hardly know anyone yet in this country, maintaining communication with the people who are important for you will help you feel not so alone.
- Learn the place. You will overcome culture shock more easily once you begin to get to know the local area. Go to a local dining place, order something typical for the country you are in and try to understand better how the people here live. Go to a club with your family or new colleagues and try to relax and have fun.
- Travel. Go around the area, explore the sights and pretty much do what pleases you. As you travel you will be meeting more people, you can make some new acquaintances and even friendships! This is one of the best and most interesting ways to cope with culture shock and understand better the country!
- Find some activities to participate in. If you like arts like singing, dancing or playing a certain instrument you can look for a local club where you can do that and meet people at the same time. This is one of the good strategies to cope with culture shock as you will get to know the people and their culture while having fun.
- Learn the language. One of the main things to do when you’re intended on overcoming culture shock is to try and learn the language. Of course, it will take some time but the people will appreciate it and help you even if you know just a few words or simple phrases.
- Keep stress away as much as possible. Try to get enough sleep, eat well and don’t overexert yourself at work. You will cope with culture shock more easily if you take a better care of yourself.
- Stay neutral in your judgment. Don’t automatically perceive everything you see and hear as negative. Even though customs here may be different from what you’re used to, it doesn’t make them bad. Try to observe rather than put labels on things and people. In this way you will understand the culture better and easier and will cope with culture shock.
- Don’t stop here. Get to know the local culture as much as you can in order to overcome culture shock faster. Ask people questions, subscribe to the local newspaper and go to local events like festivals and concerts.
- Have fun! Perhaps this is the most important tip that we can give you to cope with culture shock. Be easy on yourself if you experience a mismatch between yours and the local culture and as you try to understand better the people wherever you are, they will certainly also make an effort to understand you.
- Always remember that if you keep a friendly attitude, people will appreciate it and this will make it easier for them to accept you too!
- You can free download this article in pdf here.
Overcoming culture shock may not be as challenging as you think. Just try to relax, don’t be too harsh on yourself and you’ll see that you will find many positive aspects of your life right where you are in the long term! If you know more tips and strategies to cope with culture shock you can make a comment and share them!
Posted on Jul 17, 2013; Last updated: Jul 16, 2013