important to know there are things you can do to help so that some of these worrying effects can be minimised. Don’t feel “this isn’t going to happen to me”. Culture shock can hit you whatever culture you come from and however experienced or well-travelled you are. Having information and understanding about culture shock is the first important step. The diagram below depicts the process we go through. However, by following the actions mentioned here you will help lessen the stress of culture shock…
- Simply understanding that this is a normal experience may in itself be helpful.
- Keep in touch with home
- Focus on what you can control. When we are suffering from culture shock, we usually feel out of control. So, don’t spend energy on things you cannot change.
- Don’t invest major energy in minor problems. We make “mountains out of molehills” even more quickly in cross-cultural situations than we do in our own culture.
- Tackle major stressors head on. Don’t avoid things.
- Ask for help. Create a wide support network as quickly as you can in your target culture. This can include expatriates like yourself as well as people of the local culture.
- Write it down. Record your thoughts and frustrations in a journal. This will give you a healthy outlet for expressing your feelings.
- Compare and Contrast. Learn about the differences between the cultures by comparing and contrasting so you can articulate them. Then see what lessons you can learn and what conclusions can you draw. Is your own culture more individualistic and initiative-taking; proactive? Do you find the Arab culture more collectivist and fatalistic; reactive?
- Ask questions. Learn about how the Arabs think of people form your country – the more you learn about yourself the more you can understand how to understand others.
- Read up on cross-cultural theories. Finally, if you are interested, seek out information about how to analyse cultures – there’s a whole science about it – it’s fascinating!
Notice that a positive attitude and making the right choices will help you develop rapport and understanding – then you will be able to straddle both your new and your own culture easily.
Expat advice on various countries can be found
on this expert site: http://www.expatarrivals.com/
My other articles related to culture shock can be found here:
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