International Relocation Culture Shock

What is Culture Shock?

Moving overseas can be twice as much stress and pressure as moving nationally. If you have ever traveled abroad, you have most likely experienced culture shock. You may initially think you’re simply homesick; however, it goes a bit deeper than that. You will go through multiple stages when adjusting to a new country with a different culture and language.

If you have any questions about culture shock and an easier transition, feel free to contact us , we’d love to hear from you and help make your adjustment as seamless as possible.

Before discussing what steps you can take to overcome culture shock, NY International Shipping will define culture shock and explain its causes. New York International Shipping wants this move to be as positive an experience as possible before, during and after; therefore, we want to educate you about Culture Shock so that you can easily recognize it if you are faced with it once you are in your new home.

Culture shock is defined as a state of bewilderment and distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange or foreign social and cultural environment. While this may give you a glimpse into what culture shock is, NY International Shipping will help you better understand what this really means. When you move overseas to an unfamiliar country, everything is foreign; language, culture, customs, values, style of dress, food and weather— essentially, the entire world around you is now unfamiliar. Your senses are confused by the foreign sounds, smells and tastes and you have difficulty performing even basic communication with the people around you. This is what culture shock truly is.

Identifying Culture Shock

The followings are tell-tale signs of culture shock:

  • Sad or lonely feelings that do not go away
  • Being overly concerned with your health
  • Pains, headaches or allergies
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Experiencing vulnerability, depression or anger
  • Idealizing or fantasizing the truths about your own culture
  • Becoming obsessed with adapting or obsessed with the new culture
  • Becoming overwhelmed by small problems
  • Experiencing shyness or insecurity
  • Obsessing about cleanliness
  • Experiencing overwhelming senses of homesickness
  • Experiencing feelings of being lost or confused
  • Questioning your decision or reasons for moving overseas

You may experience one symptom or a combination; culture shock seems to be experienced differently and unpredictably by different individuals.

What is the Progression of Culture Shock?

So new, so exciting!

As with any new experience, one always experiences a feeling of euphoria when one first moves overseas. You experienced excitement, stimulation and enrichment. During this stage, you will still feel tied to familiar things at home.


Suddenly, everything you experience no longer feels new and exciting. You become confused and feel alone; realizing that your support system back home and everything familiar to you is actually quite far away.

Comparison & Rejection

You begin rejecting the differences you are painfully aware of. You will probably become angry and frustrated. You begin to idealize your life at your previous home, comparing your current country to it constantly. You grow to strongly dislike the culture, language and food and feel it is inferior in comparison to your indigenous culture. You may develop some prejudices at this time. This is a fairly common reaction, so not to worry! Eventually, you’ll look back and wonder why you ever felt any of this!

This isn’t so bad.

You will begin to feel acceptance towards these new changes. Once you immerse yourself in this new culture and open yourself to accepting the differences you will begin to feel as though you can live with them. You will begin to experience confidence and assurance that you can cope with issues that may arise. You will stop feeling isolated and begin to appreciate the new environment around you.


Suddenly you are back to your old self again! You accept the new culture with open arms and see things rationally and realistically. You feel comfortable in your new environment and do not feel alone or isolated any longer. You can appreciate the similarities and differences between your new home and your old culture. You begin to feel this is your home.

How Can I Help Myself?

When you begin to experience culture shock, there are a few things you can do to help yourself overcome it. Begin with fighting the urge to isolate yourself by joining a group that will allow you to socialize; such as a language class, sports team or church. Becoming a part of the community by meeting new people will help you through the third stage of culture shock.

Go out and about. Start walking around your neighborhood and becoming acquainted with your neighbors. Find a café or market that you enjoy and frequent it; soon you will begin to see other regulars and it will feel familiar. Once you begin to become recognizable to neighbors or other regulars, you can find a chance to introduce yourself and make friends.

Get acquainted with your new area by going on tours. Get to know your city’s history and culture. Doing this will help transition you through State Four and Stage Five.

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