Culture Shock

Culture shock is normal and natural. It happens to Americans abroad as well as to visitors to the United States. To know and understand this phenomenon can prove helpful.

Culture shock develops as a result of stress caused by trying to cope with a number of things, such as: tiredness, a language barrier, cultural differences, homesickness, adjustments to the time difference, new foods, an unfamiliar environment, etc.

Understanding, acceptance and patience are the most effective methods of alleviating culture shock. For homestay students, the language barrier is the biggest contributing factor to culture shock. It requires a constant and intense effort for the student to try to communicate—even on an elementary level – with a limited vocabulary.

It is extremely frustrating and confusing to be unable to express ideas or feelings because of an insufficient grasp of the language.

Culture Shock Can Be Treated As Follows:

  • Allow for lots of rest in the first few days of the stay.
  • Speak slowly, clearly pronouncing your words, and be patient with your student.
  • Become involved in your student’s language learning efforts. A language dictionary may prove to be invaluable.
  • Stay positive. If you feel discouraged, the student will feel discouraged as well.
  • Include your student in activities that your do not necessarily demand constant communication.
  • Show your student your interest and encouragement by speaking with him.Approach this natural reaction with understanding and friendship. Kindness and a sense of humor generally relieves the student quickly of the culture shock.