Culture Shock


By Cha Jones, Expat Coach

Just when you were finally getting use to the weird things your neighbors did, you up and relocate to an entirely different country with its own culture. Now, you walk down the street and find yourself totally immersed in all things foreign. There is the constant chatter that the natives maintain as conversation although it is extraneous and after a while utterly annoying. Maybe it is not that you do not understand the language, but you are trying to deal with the traditions and customs that seem ridiculously bizarre or the lack of one’s personal space is driving you insane. Those are all the symptoms of being immerse in another culture and considered culture shock.

Culture shock is the feel of frustration from being in an unfamiliar environment, which interrupts everything that you consider normal or routine. Culture shock typically does not occur until after the marriage has commenced and the date with your foreign affair has departed. It is when you locked into a long assignment with no foreseeable departure date, and you being to feel overwhelmed by the daily differences of your new environment. Culture shock kicks in just when you realize that the newness of the adventure is becoming an old satire of your journeys reality. You are no longer visiting, you are a resident, and what is simple to deal with on a short-term basis has become frustrating and uncomfortable.

Here are a few tips to help you deal with culture shock…

  • Most culture shock occurs when routines interrupt, so try to set new schedules and get a new routine that is conducive to your new environment.
  • Try to incorporate some of the traditions of your host country into your daily routine.
  • Seek out cultural class or try learning the language.
  • Try to immerse into your host country, hangout this some of your native co-workers. Having friends outside of work helps make the transition better.
  • “Remember that when in Rome do as the Romans do.” Try not to go against the grain and get involved where you are, fighting the flow of things only makes life difficult, so let go and do as the natives do.


This entry was posted in Changes and Transitions, Culture, Expat Coaching, Marketing, Repatriation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

About the Author

Cha Jones

Cha is a woman of many talents as well as words. She is an inspiring and motivating international speaker, author of Every Girl Needs Her Pearls, and the founder and chief executive officer of Expat Women of Color. As a self-proclaimed Nomadic Chick, she has lived and worked in South Korea, traveled to countries like China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Dominican Republic. Her traveling stories and advice can be found on blogs such as Women of Color Living Abroad, The Nomadic Chic, My Soul to Seoul, and Black Atlas. Cha graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Aquinas College in Nashville, TN. She completed her master’s degree in Intercultural Leadership and Management with a focus in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute, a program of World Learning, in Brattleboro, VT. In 2011, Ms. Jones founded Expat Women of Color an international networking organization that provides personal and professional resources for women who live, work, study, and travel abroad. Her passion is encouraging others to live on purpose, walk through fear, and trust in their own power. She is currently working to increase the number of minorities participating in study abroad and international service learning programs. Her personal mission is to be a women who uses her talents and skills to make an international impact by assisting other women in finding their own global niche. Cha works with all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, but specializes in working with women and men of color. She realizes that people of color sometimes need to navigate their transitions differently and she would love to help.

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