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Cultural Shock and Adaptation

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Cultural shock is when a person faces many stressors through experiencing new culture, and it may lead to psychological crises or social dysfunction. Cultural shock mostly occurs on immigrants (e. g. students, business people, social change, etc). The reaction of cultural shock depends on various factors, the experience of other culture adaptation, the difference between the home culture and the new culture, and the psychological characteristics of the person. There is many ways of helping people with cultural shock.

First, programs of preparation in which we develop their recognition of culture shock occurrence and implement behaviors to overcome cultural shock.

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Second, orientation is where we give them awareness of how to react with cultural shock reaction by helping them to normalize their experience and respond in less stressful manner. Third, gaining appropriate social skills is learning the social principles combining cognitive behavioral approaches. These three ways could help students to adapt in a better way.

In fact, helping students adapting in a new culture, is one of the fundamental things to their success.

Other aspects of cultural shock are the consequences of strain, anxiety, feelings of loss, confusion resulting from loss of accustomed cultural cues, social rules and the challenge of new cultural surroundings, and the loss of a familiar culture environment. As well as cultural shock, stress responses may cause psychological reactions which include physiological, emotional, interpersonal, cognitive, and social components. There are four stages of cultural shock which is best described as: 1.

The honeymoon or tourist phase: It’s the best part where the person experiences their interests, excitement, euphoria, sleeplessness, positive expectations and idealization about the new culture and they find the differences are exciting and interesting. This phase is totally the opposite of what we think about cultural shock, and that’s because mostly the people who travel for a short period of time (honeymoon, vacation, business, trip etc) experience this phase, because they don’t deal with local culture in a substantial way and on its own terms They are more limited to institutions (hotels, resorts, business, airports).

The crisis or cultural shock phase: This phase usually begins few weeks later and in some cases it may emerge immediately, and that’s when the person faces negative experiences and reactions. For example, minor issues become major problems, and cultural differences become disturbing. All this may lead to disappointment, tension, isolation, and anger. Also, it makes the person more sensitive, suspicious and paranoid. And this where the person dislikes the culture. 3. The adjustment, reorientation, and gradual recovery phase: This phase is where the person learns how to understand, adapt and accept the new culture.

Once the person develops problem-solving skills, challenges become fun. They begin to deal with their problems in a positive attitude with less negative reactions and responses. 4. The adaptation, resolution, or acculturation phase: This phase is where the person success adapting in the new culture as well as knowing how to deal with problems and being responsible. Stress is one of the causes of cultural shock. The reaction of stress is that it increases the body’s physiological reaction that can cause dysfunction in the rise of pituitary-adrenal activity, and it also makes the person feel more anxiety, depression and so on.

Cognitive fatigue is caused by the new cultural information and demands that the person should make a lot of effort to learn and understand. Role shock is where the person feels lost of identity and that’s because of the change of the social roles and interpersonal relation. Personal shock is an aspect of cultural shock resulting from diverse changes in personal life. The symptoms of cultural shock may include excessive sleeping, compulsive eating, and drinking and loss of work effectiveness.

Winkelman, M. (1994). Cultural shock and adaptation. Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, 73(2), 121-126.

Cite this Cultural Shock and Adaptation

Cultural Shock and Adaptation. (2016, Nov 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/cultural-shock-and-adaptation/

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