Dealing with Cultural Shock when Traveling Abroad

The cultural shock is the most normal response we can get when traveling in a foreign country with a culture completely different from our own. Some people find it difficult to handle it while others face it with brio. The change, during vacation, can be quite significant for the psychical comfort; so this is why, it is important for people to evaluate the situation correctly in order to adapt rapidly.

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How do you know you are suffering from cultural shock? You may find it difficult to sleep, or sleep too much; you may experience headaches, nausea, diarrhea, depression, volatile changes of mood, irritability and mostly the tendency to criticize everything around.

You must be aware that these sensations or feelings are the body’s response to the disorientation coming from the fact that you live in a new environment. The first step is to find a place in which you are comfortable and contemplate the aspects you miss while being in a new place. Such a comfort “zone” can be a place in the hotel’s garden, a terrace where you can feel comfortable or any other place you perceive as a safe haven for your thoughts.

If you travel alone make sure you learn a few words from the language of the locals and use them to interact with them. Try and build a relationship with the locals instead of isolating yourself. Observe the behavior of the locals when you find yourself in an unpleasant or confuse situation. Try and understand why they follow certain behavioral patterns and the culture hiding behind them.

Try and imagine how would a local behave in the same situation like the one you are in if he or she would visit your country. How would you explain their cultural shock? Doing this you will see that a negative attitude towards the locals can be interpreted as ill will rather than cultural shock.

Write down the things you find confusing and after a few days take a look at your notes. Ask what you don’t know and you will be surprised to see how well you have adapted to the same situations you wrote down some time ago.

This kind of exercise will help you assimilate the cultural elements you could not relate to.

It is natural for all of us to want to see the exotic places we see on Discovery Travel channel. But being there, in a new place, the whole picture may prove far from your expectations.

Make sure you research the place you are traveling to and learn the other people’s impression about it. It may help you paint a realistic image and reduce the cultural shock.

Posted in: TRAVEL INFORMATION

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