How to Deal with Culture Shock

Posted on Jul 7, 2015 | 1 comment

How to Deal with Culture Shock

There’s no doubt that moving to a new country and adapting to a new culture can be challenging. It takes time and requires a considerable amount of patience, even if you have experience moving abroad. Often times, the adjustment to environmental and social differences can include culture shock. When assimilating yourself into a new culture that’s very different from your own, culture shock is often unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to necessarily be a bad thing. Culture shock is a learning experience of its own, and with it comes a broadening of perspective and understanding. Getting a better idea of what you’re experiencing will help you deal with your possible culture shock in a healthy way and ensure a much smoother transition.


There are three main phases of culture shock:


1. The honeymoon phase

The pain of leaving home is often tempered by the excitement of arriving in a new place and the anticipation of beginning a new adventure. This is a fast-paced time when one often feels inspired by the newness around them.


2. The culture shock and homesickness phase

As the anticipation fades with your arrival and settling in, the original excitement may begin to turn into nostalgia for your home country. You may go through emotional challenges and question your decision to move.


3. The adaption phase

After confronting your culture shock and the doubts that come with it, you find a sense of belonging and create a new, balanced life. This final phase offers the rewarding opportunity to discover a new you. Some common signs of culture shock include homesickness, disorientation, depression, sleep disturbances and loss of focus. While it’s almost inevitable that you feel at least one of these symptoms at some point in your transition, your most important preventative tactic is to remain positive and do your best to continue working towards your goals.


  1. Getting involved at your new job will help you keep busy, and eventually, when you feel confident about your new job, you will begin to feel more confident in all other aspects of your new life.
  2. Try networking in your area; it’ll help you get to know the neighborhood and make new professional and personal contacts.
  3. Most cities even have groups and networks specifically for expats. Talking with peers who have gone through similar transitions and faced similar emotions will help you feel connected and less alone.
  4. Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people and integrate yourself into the community. Whether you volunteer for a formal organization or do something nice for someone less fortunate than you, helping others also has a way of helping you gain perspective on your own life. If you are a member of Passport Career, the Top Employers and Volunteering sections in each country portfolio will help you find local opportunities to volunteer!


Do you have your own tips for dealing with culture shock? Share them in the comments below!



Passport Career provides detailed career and cultural information and extensive resources for finding a job, internship, or alternative career opportunity in over 80 countries. If your organization, company, embassy, university/college, library or other institution would like access to our country portfolios (15,000+ pages of expert content for 80+ countries and 250+ cities) to share with your employees, their spouses/partners, students and others managing a national or international career transition, please contact us regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career.


Katelyn Bellus, Research and Private Website Content Manager

One Comment

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