Culture shock is a feared and dreaded experience for operatives, nomads and expats, but it can strengthen and evolve us, if done deliberately.
*Culture Shock: A sense of confusion and uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect people exposed to an alien culture or environment without adequate preparation.
Lean into it. Learn from it. Lead from it. After all, it’s part of the trifecta of experiencing the unknown world; destinations, foods and culture. Going through the process of culture shock makes you wiser, sharper, braver, stronger and uniquely cultured.
The whole idea of seeing the exotic world is to be “exposed to an alien culture or environment” – to experience the new and unknown. So it’s natural to be confused and hyper-excited with degrees of anxiety.
Similar to being in love or in combat. This is expected and why culture shock is such a vital aspect of personal growth and the human condition.
So you arrive to a strange city in a foreign country on a different continent from your own and once you get some distance from the comfortable confines of the language friendly airport – you realize how thrilled, nervous and alien you feel in this new “world”.
You look, listen, smell and take in all of this alien world around you and feel confused and uncertain of your surroundings. Like a defenseless newborn animal.
This is culture shock.
An unavoidable factor of world travel. So welcome it. View culture shock as just another way to experience a new and different way of life and yourself.
As for myself, I like to find new and sometimes exotic cities and live there for months at a time – enough to acclimate to the culture and learn how things work in each place as well as to understand the mindset of its peoples. This, I believe, makes me a better human.
Learn how different aspects of this new culture works and embrace it as part of a new skillset or add it to your knowledge bank. Whatever the case, never view culture shock negatively or as an obstacle.
Think of it as a valuable learning experience on a global level while simultaneously being on an adventure.
Experience to embrace culture shock and evolve.
[OPTICS : MEKONG DELTA, VIETNAM]