Culture Shock has been defined as the normal response to unfamiliar social and emotional cues. Each of us will experience Culture Shock as we travel to a new country. Even the most experience traveler will have very normal responses to the social cues of the "host" country. The key to dealing with Culture Shock is not denial but understanding.

Culture Shock comes in Phases:

1) Honeymoon: This is the phase where team members fall in love with the host country. The grass seems greener, the sky seems bluer. We recommend you thoroughly enjoy this phase, just refrain from any life changing decisions.

2) Break-up: In this phase folks tend to want to find the fastest way out of the host country. Everything seems too foreign and frustration comes quickly. In this phase it's important to share your frustrations with the team in a safe environment; and remember that this phase will pass.

3) Understanding: Understanding begins to settle in your mind as some of the foreign behavior of the host culture becomes familiar. You will start to recognize and even understand more of these new social cues. Take the mindset of a student and you will gain a new comfort even faster.

4) Acceptance: In this phase you will begin to accept the wonderful differences between your home and host cultures. Each culture becomes more clear and you can begin to see strengths in both. Resentment for either culture fades as you enjoy and accept these differences.

Culture Shock is cyclical, which means each phase will come around again. You may likely processes through this entire cycle several times on your trip. Experiencing Culture Shock with a team, and openly sharing your experiences is the best way to process through Culture Shock. 


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