Culture Shock: What is it?

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Can you stop Culture Shock? No, but you can prepare for it. Preparation will be help you move through it. You may find it difficult adjusting to your new environment abroad. Most students will experience some form of culture shock and it is NORMAL to have a range of reactions when adapting to a new culture. Remember to be PATIENT with yourself and those around you. Explore the resources below for tips on how to deal with culture shock and how to better immerse yourself in your host community.

It’s also important that you continue to debrief your culture shock once you have returned home. These are questions are to help you considered what you have experienced on your trip and share those experiences with the people you love.

  • What moments from your cross cultural experience stand out as culture shock?
  • Were any of these experiences mishaps? How did they turn out?
  • What did you learn from your cross cultural experience?
  • Which of the moments from you experience best demonstrates what you learned from your trip?
  • Think through your five senses in that moment, what stands out?
  • What did this moment teach you?
  • Why is this moment and what you learned important?
  • How are you using what you learned today?

Whether you’re preparing for an upcoming trip or you’ve just retuned from one, culture shock is something you will experience.  Experiencing culture shock is normal and nothing to be ashamed of but it is something that needs to be thought through and shared with the people around you. If you ever need someone to talk to about culture shock or anything else the Baylor Missions staff is always available.

Kathleen Post is the Ministry Associate for Global Missions and a student at Truett Seminary.

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