Culture Shock Doesn't Have to Be a Bad Thing

Moving to or visiting a new country and new culture can be a significant change for even the most adaptable of social chameleons among us. Factors such as new languages, unfamiliar food, and a feeling that you’re not quite such this was the right decision can quickly turn your optimism into a rising dread that you’ve made a colossal mistake.

But culture shock doesn’t have to be such a bad thing. Adequately preparing for moving to or even visiting a country that is worlds away from what you are used to can make the transition all that much more straightforward. But what are the steps towards ensuring that culture shock doesn’t catch you out?


Firstly, you need to decide where you are going. This can be both a simple task and a surprisingly difficult one, also. There are such a wide variety of different experiences available to undertake out there, that narrowing it down to discover and explore just one can be a little bit overwhelming.

Consider then, what it is you want to achieve. Do you want to teach English? Do you want to climb mountains? Do you want to further experience in your industry? Once this has been decided, it will be so much easier to select the ideal destination for you.

With this out of the way, it is time to start researching your destination. This is an essential part of avoiding any potential surprises once you touch down in your soon-to-be new home. Through your research, you can get an idea of how much everyday items, such as cost of living, transport, facilities, will cost and how readily available they will be.

Furthermore, you will also be able to read experiences of those who have previously attended this particular country. While everyone’s experiences will naturally be different, and you will find nowhere that has a hundred percent record of satisfaction, knowing yourself, your strengths, and how well you can to adapt to change and unfamiliar environments.

With this knowledge, you will be able to decide whether or not this is the thing that you need to do. Should you still be clamouring for a change of scenery and a new experience, then book your ticket and get ready to take off.


Your arrival in your new country will at first be filled with euphoric joy, exploring your surroundings and getting to know the area. And at first, this will be enough. You will more than likely take a couple of days or weeks to settle before beginning your new odyssey.

During this time, the best way to avoid culture shock will be to learnt the language, as there is only so long you can go gesticulating wildly and speaking pigeon-English to the locals before feeling like a bit of a fool. Learning the local language is a big task, but consistent practice with people at the shop, market, or on public transport will begin to show signs of progress after a short time. From here, you will only start to improve, and getting the basics down - such as hello / goodbye, please and thank you, and asking for food or directions - will help immeasurably in making you feel more comfortable in your new home.

Additionally, in places that are dominated by many expats, there are options of language exchanges as well as expatriate social media groups, where new arrivals can meet other foreigners to help assimilate to the new environment. Although, often these groups are filled with people who think that just because they’ve lived there longer, it makes them superior, ask innocent questions at your own risk.

During this time, you will begin to really appreciate the country you have chosen to call your new home, and there may be a couple of Facebook posts proclaiming that you are ‘Never coming home’, much to your parents’ dismay. But this is all part of the experience, and as much as it may hurt your friends and family back home, the knowledge that you’re enjoying yourself will trump any feelings of longing.


This honeymoon phase will not last, however. It is only natural that at some point you will begin to miss home comforts. Perhaps your new country doesn’t sell your favourite chocolate, perhaps you keep seeing Facebook photos of all your best friends having fun without you.

Knowing that you will feel homesick at some point means that once the sadness does start to creep in, you will be able to anticipate and cope. Homesickness is also the reason that during much of your early weeks abroad it is important to meet as many people as possible and begin to forge relationships to act as an anchor for when you are feeling down.

Over time in your new country, you may also come to find some of the local customs a little bit odd. For some places, it can be difficult to prepare for such events and festivities that will only make sense to the locals. For times like these, it is good to discuss with people who have lived there for a while to assist in explaining what is expected of expats and foreigners during festivals. This is particularly important when it comes to religious events.

And of course there are bound to be other factors that crop up during your stay. Unusual food, foreign alcohol laws, a strange and subtle but ever-present feeling that you are considered a second class citizen by the locals, even those who you consider to be a friend and trusted coworker can eventually start to get you down.

During the lows of your journey it is important to remember that things will get better as long as you keep your head up. Negative thoughts can quickly grow into negative actions and this will not help you, nor your friends or employers. During such a slump, consider what it was that brought you out there in the first place and evaluate what positive changes have happened since then. A little bit of perspective can turn negative thoughts into positive ones quicker than you might imagine.


Being in a different culture can change your life, and as long as you can battle the homesickness and culture shock, you will leave knowing that it was one of the best decisions you have ever made.

You might even find that you love it so much that you never want to leave. For situations like this, selecting local services that can assist in finding permanent accommodation such as rumahdijual.com/surabaya/rumah-murah can turn this desire into a reality.

Upon your departure back to your home country, you might just find yourself already longing for the next adventure. Not everybody gets the opportunity to travel and experience different parts of the world, being able to return home with stories of weird and wonderful days and nights with the most unlikely people will make you realise that it was really, really worth it. A lot of the people you may meet in this different country will stay with you for life, whether it be for positive or less than positive reasons, and will give you good laughs to look back on in the future.

Taking the chance on moving to a new country can be a scary prospect, but with the right preparation, the proper determination to succeed, and a positive attitude towards whatever life will throw at you through both the highs and the lows there is always a solution to remain happy and continue moving forward. It seems then, really, that the best way to get over culture shock is simply to embrace it. 

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