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Culture Shock

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Culture shock, according to Locke and Feinsod (1982) can be defined as notable change in affect, thinking or behavior which can be caused by exposure to unfamiliar environment or separation from the familiar one. This can be derived from an inability to perceive and interpret cultural cues and unfamiliarity with culturally normal behavior.

Yes, I have experienced the culture shock when I came to Canada in different form. First shock was the weather. As I came from India, to experience such a cold and unpredictable weather was quite a shock. It changed my dressing sense that I was used to in my home country. I stared looking weather forecast before going outside. I have to spend most of the time sitting inside home in winter season. Second thing was food. Here people tend to eat fast food like Pizza or french-fries. It is totally opposite from my country. Here it is hard to find time between job to cook proper food and eat. You have to prepare your lunch or dinner in advance in order eat it during the break. Third thing was the language barrier. As an international student, English is my second language back in home country. Though during my graduation, I studied in English, it was really hard to convey the message due to different pronunciation of words. Same thing was with the understanding the words. However it did not take long time to overcome this problem. It was really hard in initial phase to establish contact with people of the host country. It felt really odd talking with the people. After 4 or 5 months I felt to go back to the home country to enjoy the local food, visit the friends and family or to shop in that local environment. I just felt like to talk to someone who can really understand the things I was going through. There was also a fear of taken advantage of or cheated by some other people. I was not able to able to trust the people of host country easily. One thing I also want to add in the cultural shock was Job and Working. You have to work hard in order to survive in this country. If I want to buy something from the shop, you also have to pay taxes. Again you are paying taxes on your earnings, so in the beginning it was like how many times I have to pay taxes? Sometime I also felt homesickness, and irritability. So to sum up, it can be said that it was an interesting experience.

There are four stages of Cultural shock.

  1. Honeymoon
  2. Crisis
  3. Recovery
  4. Adjustment


In the Honeymoon stage, person’s mind is filled with positivity. He or She is full of energy to do something new in the foreign country. At this stage everything seems new and exciting in the host country. During this phase he or she might like the food and culture of the host country. People might try to notice similarity between his country and the host country. This stage may last for couple of months. As soon as this stage ends, second stage starts.


This stage can be referred as culture shock. In this stage person starts to notice difference between origin country and host country. In this stage person may feel lonely and homesick. This feeling might turn in to anxiety and depression. Person may find it hard to adjust with the same food that he or she found exciting in the honeymoon stage. For the international students, this stage might be the hardest as they are living in the new strange environment without any prenatal support.


If the person is successfully survives in to first two stage of culture shock, he or she may enter in to third stage. In this stage person become familiar with the language and the culture of the host country. This is the point when they find their selves comfortable with surroundings. This stage is gradual and person might don’t realize entering in it.


                This is the stage when person actually find all of the customs and culture interesting. Person will start living life as the host county has. Once they reach this stage it might be hard for them to return to their original country as they might come across the thing called “Reverse Culture Shock”.



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