How to overcome a culture shock

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How to overcome a culture shock

Post by Admin on Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:59 pm

How to overcome a culture shock





The following are some suggested strategies to overcome the "cultural shock":

Of course you will find hundreds of little concrete things that justify your miserable feelings, but try to distance yourself a little bit from all the small things to get the whole picture of what might be happening to you.

Explain the people around you how you feel. Try first to solve your problems on the spot with the people concerned. Avoid emergency phone calls or letters to your close ones at home, you will unnecessarily worry them and by the time they answer, the situation might already have completely changed. Writing a diary can be very helpful to clarify your thoughts. If the problems persist you should try to dialogue with the host organisation and if this does not change the situation, your last initiative should be to inform your sending organisation so that a solution can be sought.

Try to share some elements of your culture with the people around you:
cook for them, organise an evening about something that you find interesting about your country. (e.g.: cultural traditions, the situation of young people, the educational, political or economical system, etc.)

Try not to judge. Even if it sounds trivial try to tell yourself: It is not better, it is not worse, it is just different! Keep in mind that your way of experiencing things might be different from the way the people you meet look at it. All through our lives we receive a lot of influences from the people around us, making each of us a specific person. To learn more about the issue, click here.

It can be helpful to change air for a few days in order to look at everything from a distance in a more relaxed way. However do not run away from your problems. If you want your host country to become your second home, you should think of investing more time in the building of human relations in one place.

After you have recovered from this difficult period, things can only get better! You now have a chance to really deepen your friendships and to gain real insight into the life in your host country. You will probably find that many of your first interpretations and impressions were incomplete and superficial and the real discovery of the daily life begins. Intercultural learning is an adventure which provides many obstacles, but at the same time if you really allow it to happen, it will turn into one of the most enriching experiences of your life!

From: http://www.unesco.org/ccivs/New-SiteCCSVI/VolunteersInfo/Documents/overcome.htm

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