Culture Shock

Topics: Sociology, Culture, Anthropology Pages: 8 (2565 words) Published: November 11, 2012
The factors of culture shock are various. Different values, beliefs and customs can create information overload. Besides, language barrier reduces the understanding of the new culture and makes people feel isolated. In addition, the difference in food is one of the main factors of culture shock. Original eating habit is not easy to change, so it becomes more difficult to fit in. Moreover, people from different social structures cause culture shock. Furthermore, the individual differences such as age, sex, socio-economic class and education also influence degree of culture shock.

Culture shock typically occurs in a four-stage process that can unfold over varying lengths of time: the honeymoon, negotiation, adjustment, and mastery phases. In the honeymoon phase, people always feel excited and fascinated about the culture. After that is negotiation phase which is the real culture shock. In this stage, people are struggle in the differences between cultures. When people start to recover, they jump to the next stage, adjustment phase. In the last stage, people will start to embrace the new culture. Different people experience culture shock in different ways and to different degrees, but they all go through the same process of this model.

People in this situation will have both positive and negative effects which influence people psychologically and physically. It causes depression, anxiety and hopelessness and, in turn, it will reduce problem solving skill, inefficiency of work and negative interpersonal relationships. Besides, it also causes physical symptoms like colds and headaches. However, it also brings positive effects such as self-confidence, self-motivation, culture sensitivity and language skills.

Culture shock is a temporary phase. There are various ways to reduce these emotions. Keep in touch with family and friends by making phone calls, using web chat or sharing photos and experience on social networks. Get involved in local activities and make new friends can reduce the negative emotions. Explore is another good ways to maintain the excitement stage longer. Be open mindedness and have positive attitude is the key to overcome this.

Keywords: culture shock; Oberg; phases of Culture Shock; causes, effects and solutions

1. Introduction – Culture Shock
In the last decade, an increasing number of people have opted to study, work or live in a foreign country which is totally different in culture and environment. When people visit an unfamiliar culture for the first time, it results in culture shock.

The term Culture Shock was coined by a world renowned anthropologist Kalervo Oberg in a 1954 speech in Rio de Janeiro. He introduced his model for Culture Shock, four phases when people encounter a new culture. The first time when people visit or move to another country, they are often astonished by the differences between other cultures and their own. These differences sometimes make people feel uncomfortable, frustrated, fearful or insecure.

In Oberg’s speech, he defined Culture Shock as follows: “Culture Shock is precipitated by the anxiety that results from losing all our familiar signs and symbols of social intercourse. These signs or cues include the thousand and one ways in which we orient ourselves to the situations of daily life.”

Culture shock is a psychological stress which happens in the beginning when visiting another country which causes not only negative but also positive effects. This paper aims to investigate the causes, the effects and the solutions as a practical guide to those who are about to start this adventure.

2. Causes of Culture Shock
There are several factors that cause culture shock.

2.1 Information overload
People who face a different culture or environment for the first time will inadequately use their own culture as a standard to interpret, judge and behave in the new culture. This is “information overload”. There are various things that will hit...

Bibliography: [1] Ashim C. Uwaje, “Culture shock, Re-Integration and Re-Entry culture shock - Managing Cultural Differences” 2009
[2] Furnham, A. and S. Bochner, “Culture Shock: Psychological Reactions to Unfamiliar Environments” London and New York: Methuen & Co Limited, 1986
[3] Grant G. Frost, “A Consideration of How Non-aboriginal Educators Working Among First Nations Populations May Be Particularity Susceptible To the Effects of Culture Shock” Mount Saint Vincent University, September 2007
[4] Manz Sonja, "Culture Shock - Causes, Consequences and Solutions: The International Experience" 2003
[5] Oberg Kalvero, "Cultural Shock: adjustment to new cultural environments" Practical Anthropology, 7, 1960: 177-182
[6] Rachel Irwin, “Culture shock: negotiating feelings in the field” Anthropology Matters Journal, University of Oxford, 2007, Vol 9 (1)
[7] Sheila M. Fabrizio, “Cultural adaptation in outdoor programming” Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 9(2), 2005: 44-56
[8] Wikipedia:
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