Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Top Six Ways to Deal with Culture Shock

Some countries, such as the Philippines, have close family ties due to Hispanic influence on family and religion. This culture is evident in extended families that live in compound areas. Where one goes, the other follows. However, as time passes, children develop independence as they grow up; they realize the need to provide for the family even if it means going abroad.

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For instance, some hopefuls enroll in TOEFL review centers to increase their chances of qualifying in renowned universities abroad. They realize the importance of attending coaching sessions in TOEFL review center in Makati, thereby making the most out of these programs to improve their English language skills.

Individuals who take classes in TOEFL review center dream of finishing their degree programs abroad and eventually earning income for their family's sustenance. However, once they get their desired band score with the help of a TOEFL review center in Makati, another challenge awaits them.

How can one quickly adjust to a new place where his/her parents are not physically present to support him/her? How does one deal with culture shock?

What is culture shock?

Culture shock is the sudden uncertainty or discomfort that one feels when in a foreign environment. According to Global Perspectives, there are four stages of culture shock.

 1.    Initial Euphoria/Honeymoon Stage – This stage is when the excitement of meeting new people, learning a new language, visiting famous landmarks and trying modern cuisines fill a person's mind.

2.    Irritation and Hostility/Frustration Stage – This is when separation anxiety kicks in. The dilemma of miscommunication, getting lost in the city, missing the bus and all sorts that can make one want to go home. Do not worry. Most people experience this crisis, especially during their first travel alone.

3.    Gradual Understanding/Adjustment Stage – During this stage, you have finally overcome frustration. This is when you become familiar with the place, the people and the language.

4.    Adaptation or Biculturalism/Acceptance Stage – After some weeks, months or years (hopefully it does not take you this long) of adjusting, you come to the acceptance stage. You now learn to adapt to the culture and your new world. More importantly, you thrive every day to meet your needs just like the locals.

How can you deal with culture shock?

To some, dealing with culture shock may be the most challenging part of the trip. However, once you have discovered ways of dealing with it, living on your own in a foreign land will not be a problem anymore.

1.    Do your research. Whether you are traveling locally or internationally, find out as much as you can about the place, its culture, emergency hotlines, standard practices, etc. This can help you to adjust quickly and to adapt to the do’s and don’ts in the area.

2.    Ask for advice. Never hesitate to ask for help. If you know people who have been traveling and living alone for a long time, ask for tips. What did they do to cope with the situation quickly? You can always learn from their experiences.

3.    Be positive. Among others, being positive is one of the most important things you should always keep in mind. Remember that you chose this path, and nothing good is going to happen if you decide to let negativity and anxiety get a hold of you. Greet every day with a smile!

4.    Set your goals and explore. Instead of wallowing in sad thoughts, start the habit of setting your goals. Explore the place and meet new people. There is a high probability that you will find another newcomer in town. That way, you can explore the place and the culture together.

5.    Make a call. Have your smartphones handy. When separation anxiety becomes unbearable, you can always call the people you miss. For sure, your family and friends back home miss you as much as you miss them. A quality time via phone or video call can always ease your anxiety.

6.    Write about your journey. Having a journal with you every day can also reduce stress.  Even if you are not a writer, you will find that writing can be a good outlet.

    According to Laura King, writing can make people healthier and happier. You can always write about your feelings, the places you have seen, the dishes you want to eat and more. Write about anything, and you will find yourself smiling, like after talking to a loved one.

In any situation, try to always be positive. Explore the place and be happy. Enjoy the journey and treasure new experiences. Doing so keeps your mind off from counting the days, weeks, months or even years. You will not even notice that you are going home soon. 

  • Herrington, Don. "Family Structure." Living in the Philippines. Accessed January 15, 2017.
  • Torres, Amaryllis T. “Re-thinking the Filipino Family, Tracking Changes Across the Years.” Metro Manila: Department of Foreign Affairs. Accessed January 16, 2017.,%20Tracking%20Changes%20Across%20the%20Years..pdf?sequence=1
  • "Culture Shock." Accessed February 14, 2017. shock."The 4 Stages of Culture Shock." Global Perspectives. July 19, 2016. Accessed January 15, 2017.
  • Schmitt, Mandi. "How to Deal with Culture Shock while Studying Abroad." Go Overseas. February 20, 2015. Accessed January 15, 2017.
  • "7 Ways to Cope with Culture Shock While Studying in the US." Top Universities. December 15, 2015. Accessed January 15, 2017.
  • "The Psychological Benefits of Writing." Help Scout. April 20, 2016. Accessed January 15, 2017.


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