I first heard about culture shock when I was thirteen years old. My parents were missionaries in the Philippines, and we were citizens of the United States of America. To me, the word sounded extremely awful. According to the explanation given by the adults, the immigrants to the Philippines were unable to move on with their lives, which was associated with grave culture shock. I remember that whenever we were going somewhere, people stared at us and followed us. It was hard for me to call everyone aunt, uncle, or big brother. On arrival in the country, I nearly choked from the first hamburger I took. It had a weird combination of ingredients and was extremely sweet. All the time the Filipinos considered us to be very unique, and this was linked to our skin color. It was difficult for me to adapt to the cold showers and filter water whenever I needed to use it. This experience was easier for my seven-year-old sibling. I realized that children can easily adapt to difficult conditions, which is the opposite of adults.
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Elaborating the experience
Every individual who is residing in a novel country experiences culture shock to some extent. Culture shock is more intense during the first weeks in a novel country. The term refers to the feelings of frustration and helplessness when in a new nation, where the person is unfamiliar with the nation’s culture and language. The immigrant has to adapt to an entirely novel form of life. In addition, the immigrant is unable to practice the level of independence he had in the home country. My parents confided in me that they were unable to communicate with their relatives and friends about their new life. Considering that they did not know anyone in the new country, it was extremely difficult to adapt (Ward, Stephen and Adrian 45).
Understanding some of the typical features of the USA citizens is imperative in comprehending why the mentioned case is a culture shock. In America, citizens consider their individuality as very unique. Every person is equal to the others. This was not the case in the Philippines. The Filipinos considered us as super people because our skin color was different. Moreover, Americans are straightforward in their conversations. When in agreement with an issue, they say “yes” and vice versa. When encountering a visitor, the Americans welcome the person and are friendly to all new people (Hofstede, Gert and Michael 28). As opposed to this, the Filipinos reacted by staring at us and following us. In addition, the Filipinos were not courteous enough to introduce themselves. This aggravated our situation and further depressed us.
Personally, I consider the concept of a culture shock to be exceptionally vital. Sometimes, culture shock is extremely overwhelming. However, there is a need to try to cope with this so as to feel excitement and happiness, as opposed to depression. People living in a new country always undergo cross-cultural inconveniences. The first weeks are usually very emotional. Moreover, the person experiences a lot of transformations. In my opinion, a person should research the people, language, and culture of the new country before going there. This is helpful because the person familiarizes himself with basic words and how to respond to different situations. Immigrants should form new friends who can show them around and teach them about their new life. This prevents the formation of negative opinions.
Hofstede, Geert, Gert J.Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. Cultures and organizations. London: McGraw-Hill, 1991. Print.
Ward, Colleen, Stephen Bochner, and Adrian Furnham. “The psychology of culture shock.”Psychology Press 2001. Print.