Culture Shock Abstract



Cultureshock can be experienced by any person, when he/she goes on brieftrips, changes home, changes jobs, or enters college among otherthings. Although culture shock brings an emotion of confusion, it isimportant. For example, through experiencing culture shock by comingacross a new language, a person is capable of getting used andlearning the new language quickly (Ferrante-Wallace18). The aim of this assignment is to discuss culture shock, itscauses, and how a person can beat culture shock.

Cultureshock can be defined as an uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty,which most individuals experience when they become absorbed insurroundings that they are unfamiliar with. In such surroundings,individuals are not sure of the acceptable standards of behavior, ortheir expectation from other individuals. Culture shock is part ofthe adaptation process to a new surrounding and may occur in anycircumstance, where a person becomes forced to adjust to differentsocial principles because known principles no longer apply in thecircumstance (Ferrante-Wallace24). Some individuals believe that culture shock is usually limitedto individuals that travel to different places however, it is notlimited to these individuals only, but any person that experiences achange in his/her surrounding may experience the emotion ofconfusion, which characterizes culture shock. It is possible for aperson to experience culture shock, when he/she goes on brief trips,changes home, changes jobs, or enters college among other things.

Causesof Culture Shock

Cultureshock is usually caused by four factors, which are cognitive,behavioral, socio-psychological, and phenomenological factors(Ferrante-Wallace49). These factors are discussed in the following paragraphs


Cognitivefactor argue that culture shock usually results from individualsmisinterpreting cultural values, behaviors, standards, and beliefs ofnew surroundings. Besides, culture shock may result from individualsineffectively using their cultures as the basis for interpreting,behaving, and judging a new culture.


Accordingto behavioral factor, culture shock results because people do notunderstand the systems of punishment and rewards that are associatedwith the nonverbal and verbal behaviors in the host culture.Behaviors that are positively strengthened in the home culture maybring negative response in the host culture. In such a situation, aperson may have uncomfortable feeling since he/she does not know thesystems of punishment and rewards associated with the host culture.


Accordingto this factor, people are likely to experience culture shock sincethey are not capable of using their individual cultural positions inconveying and certifying significant aspects of their identity in newcultures. In this case, culture shock emerges as an in-betweenexperience from the situation of low self to a situation of highself. For example, politeness can be considered as an importantfactor of self-identity however, social rules concerning politenesscan vary across different cultures. This implies that an individualmay not be capable of conveying and certifying the aspect ofpoliteness in different cultures.


Thisfactor argues that culture shock can be related to a person’sfeelings of comfort in the host culture. The social adjustmentelement comprises a person’s ability to have effective socialinteractions with the host members. The psychological aspect ofculture shock may be understood from cultural differences and thefeeling of loneliness in host cultures. On the other hand, the socialaspect of culture shock may be explained by individuals failing tohave the right cultural knowledge concerning the host country andpeople having strong cultural identities that may make them lesslikely to get used to the host culture.

OvercomingCulture Shock

Thereare different ways of getting rid of culture shock. One of the waysof beating culture shock is reading about the place that one will begoing and staying. It is also good to read about the things that onewill be doing in a new place. Sometimes, if possible, one shouldspeak with a person already living in the new surroundings. This willhelp an individual to understand different things concerning theculture of the place that he/she will be staying or visiting.

Onthe other hand, once a person is absorbed in new surroundings, he/sheshould keep in mind that customs and people may differ from whathe/she is used to. Through an individual having practicalexpectations and keeping in mind that misunderstandings anddifficulties may occur, it is possible to find solutions to problemsthat may appear (Elmer75). Having realistic expectations helps one in keeping an open mind,which is important in beating problems that can appear due to newsurroundings.

Besides,it is possible to beat culture shock through relating with the localpeople in the new surroundings. Sometimes, it is possible to relatewith the local individuals in the new surroundings a move that mayhelp in understanding the culture of the new surroundings (Elmer76). Therefore, individuals should not isolate themselves, but shouldtake the idea of relating with individuals from the host culturesince this may offer a learning opportunity.


Elmer,Duane.&nbspCrossCultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World.Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2002.Print.

Ferrante-Wallace,Joan.&nbspSociology:A Global Perspective.Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2011. Print.