New cultures are a challenge to understand. When exposed to a new culture we go through a series of changes to help us to adapt to a new environment . These adaptations often come as a roller coaster of situations with these phases.
The Honeymoon Stage:
This stage is all about expectations. Everything is new, exciting and fun. This is what you came for to begin with, however this stage does not last. This stage lasts anywhere between a week to a few months.
Culture Shock: Hold on. What is this? All of the sudden you start to ask yourself what are you doing here and why is everybody so strange. The difference in cultures will become more evident and suddenly you don’t find the new culture as exciting as you thought you would.
Some indicators of culture shock are: Homesickness,compulsive eating/drinking, headaches, irritability, boredom, desire to sleep in excess, inability to concentrate, crying ,and others.
Not everyone experiences severe culture shock or experiences these symptoms. Don’t be surprised if you experience culture shock, it’s normal!
Adjustment: During this stage culture shocks gradually disappears and you start to make more friends and pickup cultural clues more easily . Suddenly you the unfamiliar become familiar and you manage to avoid the pitfalls that made you feel culture shock in the first place.
Unresolved problems: There are some things that you might never get used to and this is fine. You are not going to like absolutely everything. This could be small things like food, weather , your commute, anything really.
Adaptation: You made it! Now you are able to function comfortably in your host culture and your own. Remember there are always new and exciting things to learn!