Becoming an expat can be a great experience and most of the time is an exciting journey. However, every once in a while culture shock will creep in and put a damper on any excitement you once had. It’s important to know that culture shock is a common occurrence, and there are ways to help see you through the shock!
First, know that there are different stages of culture shock (typically four to five). While the name of each stage and characteristics will vary from stage to stage, you can typically expect to experience the following symptoms:
- Change in sleep patterns
- Critical thoughts toward host country
Keep these symptoms in mind when you first relocate and use these tips to handle culture shock to help ease your transition.
- Understand that what you feel is typical. When feelings of frustration arise keep in mind that they are normal and will soon subside.
- Talk about it. Chatting about how you feel will make you feel better- especially if you are able to find an expat who is going through the same thing or has already.
- Keep a routine. Remember that life doesn’t always run smooth whether you are in your home country or host country. Try to keep a similar lifestyle to what you had before to keep normal- at least as you work your way through culture shock.
- Get involved. Although you might not feel at your best while going through culture shock, it’s important to make new friends. Developing new bonds will help you feel “at home” in no time.
Unfortunately culture shock isn’t something you can avoid or prevent. However, using these tips will help you work through any symptoms you do experience when you first relocate.