Living 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. These challenges include, but are not limited to, feelinglost, lonely, helpless, dependent, and sad. 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 leading to the acceptance stage. In this last stage theperson feels at ease and accepts their surroundings and the culture they areliving in. It does not always mean that they understand everything, but theyfeel alright not understanding everything. Although this can be a toughprocess, in the end it is rewarding and teaches someone many things about theirself. International students, who have moved abroad to study, can be considerablyaffected by culture shock. This paper will discuss the different stages ofculture shock that someone may experience, and address the most effective waysto alleviate these symptoms.