Friday, September 09, 2005

Culture Shock continues .....

Are you still reading??

So, who gets this disease ?
Not everyone will get it to the same degree, some suffer greatly and some suffer lightly. Some people bounce back and forth between the different stages and some people skip a stage altogether and/or repeat stages later. It is important to remember that different members of your family will be at different stages as well.

But just about anyone who lives for some time outside their own country will experience some of these stages.

What are the symptoms ?
Symptoms are very similar to those of depression :
* Sadness, loneliness, melancholy
* Preoccupation with health
* Insomnia, sleeping to much or too little
* Anger, irritability, resentment, unwillingness to mix with people
* Loss of identity
* Feeling of inadequacy or insecurity
* Trying too hard to absorb the new culture
* Unable to solve simple problems
* Lack of direction, motivation or confidence

When does it start and how long does it last?
The onset can vary from a few weeks to months after arriving in a new country.

Minimizing culture shock :
* Settle down as quickly as possible in your own home. Act as if you were going to live there forever
* Make your new home as homely as possible - photographs, mementos, reminders of home
* Be open to new ways
* Be patient
* Be constructive, try not to compare - criticize - complain
* Keep busy, but take time to relax
* Maintain contact with your home country - newspapers, email, etc. This will give you a feeling of belonging and reduce homesickness
* Increase contact with the new culture. Volunteer for community activities/charities
* Allow yourself to feel sad (grieve) for things that you have left behind - family, friends etc
* Try to join in, do not isolate yourself

So, now that we are all suicidal, I promise a lighterhearted entry tomorrow ....

4 comments:

Charity Shill said...

Thanks,

That was quite helpful. I am planing on going ex-pat in the next year or so, it is nice to know what to expect.

Best,

Allan

SAfrican said...

Net so dra jy dink jy is nou aangepas dan doen iemand iets so onosel dat jy weer besef weer - dit is nie onse mense die nie. Maar ons byt maar vas - en hoop virrie beste ...

just a mom said...

Does the same apply when you haven't left your home town but are going crazy to join your spouse and friend in your new land??????

19 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~jenn

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