Monday, March 05, 2007

Culture shock.

I recently came across a site that described the "stages of culture shock", as I was interested to see how I've progressed through theses stages...

Stage 1: During the first stage, foreign visitors often feel excited. The new country is interesting, the people are friendly and helpful, and the future looks promising.
I believe I was here around December 2005 through January 2006.

Stage 2: Problems! School, language, shopping — everything is difficult. Things that were simple back home require more effort in the new country. It seems hard to make friends, and at this point, foreign visitors may begin to believe that the local people are unfriendly. Homesickness begins, and along with it complaints about the new country. This is the stage we hear referred to as "culture shock."
I call my first 6 months or so, "the hellish months".

Stage 3: Recovery. The foreign visitor begins to use the language more fluently, so communication with locals becomes easier. Customs and traditions become clearer, and slowly the situation passes from impossible to hopeful. Minor misunderstandings which were stressful in stage 2 become manageable.
After returning from my first trip home in October 2006, I believe I was in this stage.

Stage 4: Stability. Eventually foreign visitors begin to feel more at home in the new country. What they do not like about their new country no longer makes them so dissatisfied and unhappy. Life has settled down, and they are now able to find humor in the situations in which they find themselves.
I hope I'm here now. No, I feel I am. I believe I arrived at this stage around December 2006 or January 2007.
If you're interested in learning some French words, check out these websites. Each site will send you daily or weekly emails that each include a new French word plus a sentence utilizing that word. Good times.
1. Transparent Language Word of the Day
2. French Word-A-Day


African Kelli said...

Bravo!! I spent a year abroad in high school and it was exactly what you just described. By the time I had to come home, I begged my parents to let me stay another year. I loved being away.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You're good because I think I'm at stage 4 now....and I've been here 5 years!!!!

Kristen said...

I think that if you stay long enough, you go through the stages a few times. I experienced a terrible bout of Stage Two last summer - after 8 years in Japan. I pushed my boundaries and they pushed back. Ouch.

TinkerBlue said...

Well done. I know what yoy mean. I lived in Tokyo for a year and loved it, Stage 4 came readily. I've now been in Canada 10 years, a country that speaks my native language, has similar customs and I still fall back & forth between stage 2, 3 and 4.