Whether you are staying in a different country for two years or your stay is just two months you are likely to experience some degree of culture shock. Everyone is different and the way you experience and adapt to culture shock depends on where you are staying, your state of mind and the particular challenges you have to face overseas. But there are common stages of culture shock and certain things you can do to adapt.
The first stage of life in a new country is usually happiness and fascination with the new and interesting things you are experiencing. You are confident and excited and you are eager to experience all that you can in your new country. The second stage is disappointment and frustration, which may occur after around six months away (or even earlier). You feel confused about certain aspects of life, you miss your family and you feel lonely. Some days you feel positive and others highly negative.
The next stage is an adjustment or recovery from negative feelings. You feel more confident with the language and your life, you are steadily becoming more involved in your new life and you feel more positive. The final stage of culture shock is your period of adjustment to your new life where you feel much more comfortable in your new home. You have made some friends and you are more confident about how things work in your new country. You are generally content with your new life.
The first stages are obviously the hardest to deal with. Make sure you have someone to talk to when you are feeling negative and irritated with life – make time to treat yourself and take it easy. Stress can make feelings of culture shock worse. Don’t feel inadequate or odd if you are suffering from culture shock. It happens to almost everyone and it is something you can deal with over time.