Culture Shock

Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation, loneliness, insecurity or surprise that can occur when a person has to operate within an entirely different cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country. While culture shock varies in length from days to possibly months, students have the ability to mitigate culture shock by first understanding the process.




Stage 1:Pre-Departure

In the midst of packing and researching your host country, you feel a mixture of excitement and nervousness about your time abroad.

Stage 2: Honeymoon

Upon arriving in your host country, your excitement is through the roof! From taking photos to waiting for a bus, every moment seems like a thrilling adventure.  

Stage 3: Conflict

Several days or weeks into your international experience, you feel a sense of isolation and frustration with everyday tasks and differences between your home country and the host culture.

Stage 4: Adjustment

As your feelings of irritability subside, your host country begins to feel comfortable and you become oriented in your new way of life.

Stage 5: Re-Entry

Upon your return to the U.S., readjusting to home life may seem difficult.  You find that not only have you changed but your surroundings have changed as well.




The Critic

This student not only criticizes everything but also harps on the terrible nature of the entire trip.

The Native

This student speaks very highly of her host country and wishes to blend in with the natives.

The Fugitive

This student retracts from social interaction due to disappointment and homesickness.

The Chauvinist

This student constantly speaks of her home country’s superiority to anyone who will listen.



Preparing For Culture Shock

Record your experience
Learn the native language
Find a mentor
Research your country


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