What is Culture Shock?

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Culture shock is the reaction when people move from familiar places to unfamiliar places, especially for international students who study aboard for couple years. On the one hand, language barrier and culture diversity are the primary impacts (International Students and Cultural Shock). A significant number of international students can’t find their feet in foreign countries because of distinct types of languages, cultures, education systems, food, values, and so on (Ruiz).

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Sense of belonging is important during this time. On the other hand, the difficulties of having relationships with classmates, new friends, professors, and other strangers hurt their feelings as well. It sometimes takes time for them from another country to adapt. Sometimes, they feel culture shock even more when they use improper or wrong words accidently and don’t know how to current them. For example, when I came to the United States for the first time, I didn’t know the meaning of what’s up. There is no such expression in my textbook. What’s more, I study British English in China for years. I don’t know it does not make sense if I say go to the toilet instead of saying go to the restroom. Culture shock needs time to fix for everyone.

Culture Shock is a period of time. The whole adjustment process has four stages: Initial Euphoria/Excitement, Irritation/Hostility, Gradual Adjustment, Humor, and Perspective, Adaptation and Biculturalism (Princeteon.edu). First stage is a happy stage. People are so excited about new environment, food, plants, smells, and etc. They only see the surface of this new culture instead of digging in. They are more than confidence to think that everything is under control and changing is not necessary.

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