There are many models that exist to describe the stages of emotions
and behaviours that one experiences during culture shock and the adaptation process. All of these models include periods of highs and lows, anticipation and resolution. One model that describes the many ups and downs of culture shock is Rhinesmith’s Ten Stages of Adjustment.
The following 10 steps of cultural adjustment outlined by Steven Rhinesmith show how culture shock can be like a roller coaster ride of emotions:
- initial anxiety
- initial elation
- initial culture shock
- superficial adjustment
- acceptance of host culture
- return anxiety
- return elation
- re-entry shock
Whilst riding the roller coaster of culture shock, a person actually follows a natural pattern of hitting peaks and troughs. The high points of excitement and interest are succeeded by lower points of depression, disorientation, and/or frustration. Everyone will experience these ups and downs in different degrees of intensity and for different lengths of time. The process is necessary in order to make the transition from one culture to another; it helps a student or traveller to balance out and adjust.
Sources: The Center for Global Education website and “Returning Home” by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, 1984, p. 7
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: