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How to deal with culture shock

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It can be difficult to move and live in a new environment, especially when this new environment is a foreign country. In an unfamiliar setting you are likely to feel insecure and disoriented. You have to deal with different values, behaviors, and social customs of a different culture.

This is the time to keep your mind wide open and be willing to accept any differences. You will not survive for too long if you perceive anything that is different as unsuitable and negative. By not making judgments you will be more objective and it will ease your acceptance into a different culture.

Never use your own cultural perspective to interpret the behavior of those from a different culture. Americans like to use “What’s up?” as a way to say “Hi” and will sometimes respond to the question with just a nod. This, however, can seem strange and rude to a foreigner who might wonder why Americans do not give a proper response.

A culture is full of layers that have accumulated through its history. If you think you have understood a culture just by grasping its surface, you could run into lots of problems. Take your time and dig through the different layers until you really understand the social and historical context of situations.

It’s only natural to not know how to behave in a new social situation. The best things to do are relax and keep your sense of humor. If you make some kind of cultural gaffe, don’t feel embarrassed, but instead laugh at yourself. People will laugh with you and admire you for trying to accept their culture.

Complete the sentences with the correct missing words:

  • 1 - I find it quite difficult to ___ the things he told me.

  • 2 - Everyone ___ things differently, that’s what makes individuals unique.

  • 3 - I think the dog feels ___ when we shave its fur off.

  • 4 - The content in this book is most ___ for minors!

  • 5 - His management style quickly won the ___ of everyone in the department.

  • 6 - He made a ___ by telling a joke about the new boss.

  • 7 - After that roller-coaster, I feel ___! I need to sit down.

  • 8 - When I feel ___, I always try to listen to my favourite song to cheer me up.

  • 9 - Chris is always kind to everyone at work. He must really want their ___!

  • 10 - I find Arabic a very difficult language to ___. I wish it was easier to speak.