1. Introduction Moving abroad can be a beneficial


Introduction  Moving abroad can be a beneficialexperience, opening up the world to many amazing opportunities. It pushespeople out of their comfort zone, boosts confidence, and teaches many importantlife lessons. Despite these benefits, there also comes some great challengeswith moving abroad.

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These challenges include, but are not limited to, feelinglost, lonely, helpless, dependent, and sad. Culture Shock is defined as “the feeling ofdisorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to anunfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes” (Oxford Dictionary(ed.) 2018). Everyone experiences culture shock in a different way, and takes adifferent amount of time to go through the predictable stages of culture shock (Vollmuth;Bomhard 2009, pp 9-10). The four predictable stages of experiencing culture shock include thehoneymoon phase, the frustration stage, the adjustment stage, and theacceptance stage (Vollmuth; Bomhard 2009, p 10).

Once someone moves to a foreigncountry, the process begins with a rush of positive emotions towards the newculture. During the stage called the “honeymoon phase”, all of thedifferent aspects of the new culture seem intriguing and interesting. Thenegative aspects of this foreign culture are barely noticed. Subsequently, thisexcitement wears off and the person now enters the stage called”frustration stage”. This is when the negative aspects of the culturebecome more prominent and noticeable to the person.

Feelings of homesick,sadness, and depression may begin to kick in during this stage. Although this isthe hardest stage of culture shock to get through, things take a turn for thebetter once someone succeeds it. Next comes the adjustment stage, where someonebegins to learn the ways of the new culture and adapt to their surroundings. Theamount of time it will take to get through this stage can vary, but itultimately results in advancing to the acceptance stage. In this last stage theperson feels at ease and accepts their surroundings and the culture they areliving in.

They accept the fact that they do not need to understand everythingabout the culture, and that it will take time to learn some things. Althoughthis can be a tough process, in the end it is beneficial and promotes theperson to learn many new things about their self (Medium Corporation 2016). Internationalstudents, who have moved abroad to study, can be considerably affected byculture shock. The aim of this paper will be to discuss the different stages of cultureshock that someone may experience, and address the most effective ways toalleviate these symptoms. 2. Analysis 2.1. The 4 Stages of Culture Shock2.

1.1. Honeymoon Phase For most people, moving abroad is an adventurous and exciting opportunityand will initially trigger positive feelings. During the “honeymoon phase”,the person will feel captivated and amused by the new culture surrounding them.

Whether parts of the new culture are similar or different from the person’shome culture, they are intrigued and fascinated by it. It is common for theperson living abroad to feel motivated and energized during this stage, andwill want to make the best use of their time. That includes learning thelanguage, visiting local tourist sites, and meeting new people. Due to this excitementand positive attitude, the person develops a feeling of invincibility and doesnot foresee any future challenges or issues with adjusting to the new culture(Princeton (ed.) 2017). There is often a sense of infatuation being felt fortheir new surroundings, the new people, language, and food. They will not feelany regret to the decision of moving to the new culture, and usually feel proudof their decision (The 4 Stages of Culture Shock 2016).

Someone in this stagehas an open mindset to the new surroundings, culture, and way of living.Although the honeymoon stage is enjoyable, it is unrealistic for someone tostay in that stage forever. Eventually, as the honeymoon stage comes to an end,the “frustration stage” of culture shock begins.   2.

1.2. The Frustration Stage Once someone has reached the endof the honeymoon phase, they begin to see everything a little bit more clearlyfor what it is.

This is when they begin to notice the negative aspects of theculture they previously felt so in love with. This stage is called thefrustration stage, and includes feelings of homesick, annoyance, and sadness.During the frustration stage, the novelty of the new culture begins to wearoff. Someone who was previously focused on the interesting aspects of the newculture, will suddenly shift their focus to the differences between the newculture and their home culture. They often feel helpless and frustrated, andthe small differences between the two cultures begin to feel like majorhardships.

It is at this point of culture shock that most people will set outon a search for familiar activities, food, and people from their home culture (Princeton(ed.) 2017). Within this stage people begin experiencing difficulties with thelanguage, friends, housing, and schoolwork. These difficulties lead to feelingsof frustration and resentment.

Tasks that would be considered little andeffortless in the person’s home culture, become large challenges in the newculture. After feeling so great during the honeymoon phase, the person has sethigh unattainable standards and expectations. When these expectations are nolonger being met, they begin to feel let down and disappointed (Santoro Bellini2005). They start to question why certain things are done differently, and missthe customs of their home culture. The time that it will take for someone tomove out of the frustration stage will vary, depending on the person. It can beexhausting to go through this stage, and takes a lot of strength and patienceto succeed.  2.

1.3. The Adjustment Stage After going through the frustration stage, things start to get betterovertime. This stage is called the adjustment stage, and is a gradual shiftfrom feeling frustrated to feeling at ease and accepting the norms of their newenvironment.

Suddenly, the person started to get used to the mindset and moralsof the new culture. They begin to have a better sense for what is consideredright or wrong, and can pick up on the small gestures from others. During thisstage, people will begin to diversify and make new friends. They regain theirsense of comfort, and sometimes start to prefer their new culture rather thantheir previous culture.

The response to the different aspects of the newculture become more rational and less emotional, thus the person beginsthinking with an open mind and will learn about their new culture on a deeperlevel. This understanding allows them to appreciate the different ways andapproaches to doing  things (Princeton(ed.) 2017). The person starts to appreciate the new culture again, and willbegin identifying their self with the culture. They feel as though they are apart of the new culture, and will regain the confidence they may have lost inthe previous stage.

It is sometimes possible that feelings of pride for the newculture may result in seeing your home culture in a negative view.  2.1.

4. The Acceptance Stage After battling through these challenges of culture shock, the personwill eventually reach the last stage of culture shock. This stage is called theacceptance stage, where the person identifies with the new culture and thinksof it as their home (Vollmuth; Bomhard 2009, p 10). This new mindset andidentification promotes the person to begin integrating more into the newsociety. Once they have started integrating into the society, they no longerfeel that they are being hindered by the new culture. They now feel as thoughthey can perform their best and reach their true potential (Mitchell 2017).

When someone reaches this phase, the aspects of the new culture begin to feelnormal to them and they grow accustomed to their new way of living. They don’tfeel as though they completely understand everything about the new culture, butthey accept that fact and feel at peace learning new things about the culturegradually.  2.

2. How Culture Shock Effects International Students These stages of culture shock can have a huge affect on internationalstudents, especially since they are often making the move to the new culturecompletely alone, without family members or coworkers. The internationalstudents will not only have the stress of school weighing on them, but as wellthe stress of living in a new culture.

For international students to succeed intheir lives and studies, it is important to be educated about culture shock. Theyshould know that culture shock is completely normal, and that they are not theonly ones facing this problem. Even though it can be emotionally exhausting, itwill pass and get better with time. They will learn to cope with the stress andfrustration that comes along with living in a foreign culture, and eventuallybegin to enjoy living in their new home. Some suggestions to help internationalstudents get through culture shock, is to attend new comer’s and internationalgroups in the new city they are living in.

These cultural groups can informinternational student on how to do things such as finding a doctor, using thepublic transportation, finding a hairdresser, and language classes (Vollmuth;Bomhard 2009, p 10). Some other ways to cope with culture shock includelearning more about the culture you are living in, learning the language, andkeeping an open mind. Once someone first arrives in a new culture, it isimportant to establish a daily routine. Having a sense of control and balancein their life will help with the feeling of disorientation. Internationalstudents should try to build a new network of friends, to cope with thefeelings of loneliness. Keeping busy and getting involved in activities isanother helpful way for international students to battle culture shock, as itpromotes living in the moment and gives them less time to spend thinking aboutwhat they are missing at home.

Someone battling with culture shock should makesure to get enough sunlight, exercise, and try to keep a journal. These threethings will help the international students to relax and reflect on theirjourney. Another helpful tip for international students is to share theirexperiences with others, and create a support network for themselves.International students should try their best to maintain a positive attitudethroughout this process, even when things get tough. Ultimately, they are theones who control their experience in the culture abroad (Vollmuth; Bomhard2009, p 10).

2.3. The Importance of Culture Shock Even though culture shock may feel negative in the moment, it is animportant part of adjusting to a new culture. Learning something new, such asthe aspects of a different culture, is best taught through experience. Leavingyour comfort zone is usually an unpleasant experience, but in the end you growfrom it.

When someone travels to a foreign country, all of their preexistingexpectations and beliefs about society and human life become questionable. Manylessons can be learned from visiting foreign cultures, and the experience willultimately have a positive effect on your life. When people take the time tolearn about the aspects of different cultures, they are able to have compassionfor the people living within that culture. Many of the global issues we facetoday, such as racism, war and poverty, could be fixed if more people had anunderstanding and compassion for the other cultures. Someone can spend theirentire life in a specific culture that teaches them what is right and what iswrong, and then fly to the other side of the world one day to discover thatanother culture teaches the complete opposite.

Therefore the foreigner’s eyeswill be opened and they will gain a new perspective on the values and beliefsof their own culture. This is a beneficial experience, as it can help someonediscover what their own beliefs are and what they truly value in life.  3. Conclusion  For anyone moving to an unfamiliar, new culture, they are guaranteed toface some sort of culture shock at some point of their adjustment into theirnew life. Whether the person is studying or working  in the new culture, culture shock is normalto face.

It can be emotionally draining and frustrating, but it is possible towork through the four stages and succeed in your new environment. As previouslymentioned, culture shock involves four stages. The honeymoon phase, wheresomeone feels infatuated with the new culture.

During this stage, almosteverything about the new culture is perceived as intriguing and exciting.Although this stage is thrilling and enjoyable, it will come to an endeventually. Once the honeymoon phase has passed, the person will begin seeingthe negative aspects of the new culture. The new culture no longer amazes theperson and does not live up to their previously set high standards. This phaseis called the frustration stage, as they begin to feel irritated and rejectaspects of the new culture. This phase is the most emotionally exhausting, andcan be hard to get through. But once this stage is past, the adjustment stagebegins. During the adjustment stage, the person will have less of an emotionalreaction to different aspects of the new culture.

Thus, they slowly begin tounderstand and see the new culture better from a clear perspective. At thispoint, they are starting to feel more integrated into the culture and regaininterest in learning about the culture, people, and language. Going throughthis stage then results in the last stage of culture shock, the acceptancestage. The person no longer feels as though they are a foreigner, and feel asthough they are a part of the new society. They now think of the new culture ashome, and have learned to accept and adjust to the new ways of living. Even thoughthey may not feel like they understand all aspects of the culture, they haveaccepted how things are. Once they have really accepted and became accustomedto their new culture, they sometimes begin seeing the faults in their previoushome culture. Even though these stages of culture shock are extremelychallenging, it is important to be educated about the subject and to understandthat it is completely normal to suffer from culture shock.

For internationalstudents dealing with culture shock, it is important to keep busy and findsupport groups to help cope with the stress of school and culture shock. Makingan effort to learn about the culture, people, and the language can helpinternational students though the process of culture shock. Above everything,keeping a positive outlook on the situation will help reduce the symptoms ofculture shock and improve the international student’s experience. All of thebenefits gained from moving to a foreign culture will far outweigh the negativesymptoms of culture shock. Going through the painful experience of cultureshock teaches someone their true values in life, and helps them see the worldfrom a new perspective.



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