Culture Shock - The 5 Stages and How to Deal with Them

Posted on Aug 15, 2021 by Lucas Brasil

Relocating to a new country can be rough, and adjusting to an entirely new culture can make the entire experience even more stressful. According to Merriam-Webster, culture shock is defined as a feeling of confusion, uncertainty, or even anxiety when you’re suddenly introduced to an unfamiliar culture or way of life with little to no preparation. In short, you can feel like a fish out of water. So, what does culture shock look like and how can you adjust to your new environment?

1. The Honeymoon Stage

Just like relationships, culture shock starts with feeling good about your new surroundings. Everything feels brand new and amazing. And when you use your recharge Natcom Haiti minutes to call home, you might even idealize the new country when chatting with friends and family. During this time, you most likely won’t experience any hiccups or frustrations. 

2. Irritability and Hostility

Maybe you’ve been living in your new country for a while, and you’re now starting to notice some glaring differences between how things were done back home versus in a new place. It can feel frustrating to realize that expectations are different. Maybe the steps required to find an apartment or house are different. Getting a driver’s license isn’t as easy as back home. 

It’s annoying, and rather than accept that every country has unique processes, you blame the new country for being backward. You might benefit from a venting session by calling home after loading up on affordable airtime. More importantly, people who know you can give perspective and remind you of the reasons you chose to move in the first place. 

3. Gradual Adjustment

After a few rocky weeks or months, you’ve finally accepted that things are different, but that doesn’t equal bad. Sure, it’s not what you’re used to. But in general, the main reasons you chose to move to a new country start to make sense again and you might not struggle with homesickness as you did during the second stage of culture shock. 

4. Acceptance Stage

Also known as “adaptation of biculturalism” this is the stage where you recognize there are differences between your homeland and where you are now, but you appreciate them. You might even view yourself as an ambassador for both places since you’re able to easily reside in your new country with relative ease. You appreciate what both countries have to offer and no longer look at your new host country as backward simply because some practices are different. 

5. Re-entry Shock

Not everyone will go through this stage as it’s reserved for people who return home. But sometimes, after years spent in a new culture, returning to your home country can be just as difficult. Similar to the culture shock you experienced when you arrived in a new land, you might struggle to adjust to life in your homeland. 

Navigating Between Worlds

Moving to a new country is a serious adjustment, even if this is what you’ve always wanted. Learning to acclimate to a new culture — even if you think you know it through pop culture — can be difficult. Learning to acknowledge and accept the differences is essential for making the transition between communities. And when you have rough moments, being able to call home with Digicel or your favorite network can make life a little less stressful.