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Culture Shock: What to Know and How to Deal with It

Traveling to a new place you only see on the Internet or in books can be one of the most exciting things you look forward to experiencing. It is an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and explore the world you never thought you’d see for yourself. Traveling can also make you feel liberated – of which each travel will be unforgettable.

Whether you go to a Switzerland train tour or any country of your choice, it is best to be prepared for every travel you make. That includes packing the essentials, booking flights and hotels early, and getting familiar with your destination’s customs and etiquette. However, culture shock is real, and it can still happen no matter how prepared you are in your next travel.

The stages of culture shock

Culture shock refers to that series of feelings that a person experience after leaving a place that is all too familiar to them. It occurs when the person goes to another location and is exposed to a different social and cultural environment. No matter how you think you are prepared for a trip, anything can still happen – including culture shock.

There are different stages of culture shock. First, you are in awe with the sceneries, the food, people, and other things once you stepped foot in a new place. But as weeks pass, you begin to notice some negativity as you observe further. For example, you start to miss mom’s cooking back home. You begin to see the local’s negative traits, and you begin to hate the weather as well.

You begin to regret going to that place and wish to go back home. But then you realize that traveling is an opportunity that not all people can experience. Once these realizations set in, you begin to embrace the life you have now – whether it’s only for a few weeks’ stays or for good. However, culture shock may happen again once you go back to your hometown.

These stages are what travelers usually experience. It can be an emotional roller coaster out there but can be an unforgettable learning experience, nonetheless. Even seasoned travelers are not exempted from culture shock – what more for first-timers?

How to deal with culture shock

people in the city

Whether you are a first-time traveler or a seasoned one, everyone can be prone to culture shock. It’s a regular thing, especially if it’s the first time you have visited that particular place. Here are some tips to lessen the feeling of culture shock on your next travel.

  • Do your research. Nothing still beats being prepared when going to another place or country – from the local tourist destinations, basic phrases, best food, and other customs you need to abide by.
  • Update your loved ones back home. Ensure that you have a good connection so that you can contact them via Skype, calls, Facebook Messenger, and other communication means.
  • Respect is key. You may find some cultures weird, but remember that you are a guest in that place or country. A lot of customs, no matter how strange, mean something significant to your host country.
  • Enjoy the journey, and appreciate that you have the opportunity to explore new places and experience different cultures. Not everyone is not able to experience what you are experiencing right now, so be grateful for it.

Culture shock may happen, but once you prepare for it, you can quickly adjust to the change of life and ways.

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