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Culture Shock

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Well, I think generally speaking, we could say that there are four stages to culture shock. First of all, the "honeymoon" stage. Uh, to the visitor, everything seems new, quaint, and novel. The food, the surroundings, the buildings. And it produces a feeling of euphoria: a desire to look around, to experiment, to explore.

The next stage is the "horror" stage, where the newness wears off, and the visitor sees the country from a different light, and often begins to criticize the country, the life, and the values of the people.

The next stage, we could say, is the "humor" stage, where people begin to reflect back and laugh at their mistakes in the earlier stages.

And the final stage, we could say, is the "home" stage where people begin to feel at home, enjoy living in that foreign country.



[NOTE: This mini-lecture only highlights certain aspects of culture shock, and is not meant to imply that all individuals visiting another country will experience all stages, or that there is a particular order to culture shock. In addition, culture shock is not limited to the overseas visitor; rather, it often occurs within cultures as individuals move from place to place or from one setting to another (e.g., from high school to college). Finally, culture shock should be viewed as a natural occurrence, affecting most of us to different degrees, and is nothing we should seek to deny if it happens to us. Just ride it out and enjoy.]

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