Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Culture Shock?

Culture shock refers to the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not.

Phases of culture shock

Honeymoon Phase - During this period the differences between the old and new culture are seen in a romantic light, wonderful and new. For example, in moving to a new country, an individual might love the new foods, the pace of the life, the people's habits, the buildings and so on.

Negotiation Phase - After some time (usually weeks), differences between the old and new culture become apparent and may create anxiety. One may long for food the way it is prepared in one's native country, may find the pace of life too fast or slow, may find the people's habits annoying, disgusting, and irritating etc. This phase is often marked by mood swings caused by minor issues or without apparent reason. Depression is not uncommon.

Adjustment Phase - Again, after some time (usually 6 - 12 months), one grows accustomed to the new culture and develops routines. One knows what to expect in most situations and the host country no longer feels all that new. One becomes concerned with basic living again, and things become more "normal".

Hmmm,so I found it interesting that it not only says a new culture, but also a social environment. After almost 4 weeks here, I find myself struggling. Miss my grandkids, can't get my schedule down, miss Mexican food, feeling overwhelmed, not feeling like I'm doing a good job at anything, etc., etc.

I wasn't thinking it was culture shock, but thought I would look up the definition anyways. I'm enjoying the culturehere for the most part, although we do spend a great majority of our time around other Americans. The food is ok & I will get used to that; although I don't think I will ever get used to noMexican food! It just seems like I haven't found my comfortable place yet. You know, the place where you can just go & be you. To me, that doesn't have anything to do with anyone else. Just a private thing, but seems it's a little lost right now.

Ok, ready for the Adjustment Phase!