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What is Culture Shock?

Anyone who has traveled to a foreign country has probably experienced at least a mild case of culture shock, especially if the area you visit is fairly diverse from where you live. Those who study abroad or move to a different country for a long period of time are more likely to experience very strong feelings of shock due to the drastic departure from their familiar everyday life. jamaica customs norman manley airport

 

So what is culture shock? This experience is best described as a feeling of disorientation caused by exposure to attitudes, beliefs, and the daily life in an unfamiliar culture. This can be encountered through going somewhere where everyone speaks a different language, body language and gestures are interpreted differently, or women have fewer freedoms than men. Adjusting to these new cultural norms can be a struggle and feel overwhelming as you attempt to overcome what you know to be true in order to embrace and assimilate into a new culture.

 

While it may sound difficult and terrible, this shock can be overcome. Even more important, it can benefit you in many different ways. Here are 6 ways that disorientation to a new culture can positively impact your life.

 

It Expands Your Worldview

 

As human beings, we tend to want to stay where we are comfortable, with the people and places that we comfortably know. It is easy to understand and trust those who live the same way, speak the same language, and practice the same cultural values as we do. It can be intimidating to travel to, let alone live, in a country with a culture that is vastly different from the one that you know very well. The cultural shock that you experience in these circumstances can feel overwhelming and insurmountable, and it may make you feel like it’s not worth pushing through.

 

However, spending time in foreign countries and experiencing different cultures is a very important part of becoming a well-rounded and open-minded individual. As you see people living differently from you and begin to understand the reasoning and methods behind their cultural practices, you see everything you experience through a new lens. Immersing yourself in a different country and culture will help you become a more empathetic, understanding, and accepting person of all people you come in contact with.

 

It Helps You Become More of a Risk Taker

 

When you first make the decision to move to a new country, it seems so thrilling and logical. There might be a job opportunity you don’t want to pass up, historical sites and architecture you just have to be surrounded by, or cultural traditions that you want to truly be a part of. As you do your research and possibly even visit, it all feels so exciting and adventurous. Once you get there, though, the shock of the culture shift might set in and make you wonder what in the world you were thinking.

 

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