How to survive cultural shock?
Traveler disorientation is a form of culture shock. You may encounter so many strange sounds, sights, and smells upon arrival in a country new to you that you may be more vulnerable to accidents or crime. You may experience this disorientation on a fast-paced business trip to several different cultures.
You can overcome traveler disorientation by gathering, in advance, information of a practical nature-knowing the routine at the airport, which taxis are recommended, knowing the exchange rate, etc. Pay particular attention to any host nation cultural behavior which may affect your security or safety.
As with any type of stress, culture shock may manifest itself both physically and emotionally. If you should experience it at a time when you need to be alert to security concerns, your awareness could be impaired. But if you understand it, you can successfully deal with it. Here are some basic tips on surviving cultural shock.
- Make friends with a foreigner from your destination country. This can be the most important thing for surviving another culture, especially if this person becomes a close and trusted friend.
- Try to find something you like about the new culture. Celebrating the good of the new culture can help take some of the edge off the things you see as bad. Think of it as the things you’ll miss when you go back home.
- Go for walks. Spend time exploring on foot. In your own culture, you take for granted how the trash is picked up, how the mail is delivered, the colors that the houses are painted, etc. Take time in this new culture to figure out how the minutia of life gets done and being on foot helps you to notice the little details, plus it gets you out of the house for a little exercise.
- Do your research. Know what you’re getting into before you go, or if you didn’t before, then do it now. Research the web, buy some books, watch local movies, and learn the language. It will help you have some idea what you’re getting yourself into.