Getting Ready for the Honeymoon

Before you get too excited, I'm not talking about that kind of honeymoon. I'm referring to the honeymoon stage of culture shock, a phenomenon that all immigrants and expats experience as they begin their lives in a new country.

"Culture shock occurs when our '...cultural clues, the signs and symbols which guide social interaction, are stripped away. ...A difficult part of this process for adults is the experience of feeling like children again, of not knowing instinctively the "right" thing to do' (Piet-Pelon & Hornby, 1992, p.2)." [1]

Various sources describe the stages of culture shock using different terms, but the general consensus goes something like this:

Model of Culture Shock

During the honeymoon stage, everything is rainbows, puppies, butterflies, sunshine and bubbles. After that, it all goes to hell in a handbasket. But fear not! There is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel! In the final stage, described as the recovery phase or at-ease-at-last phase by Losses in Translation, you will find your inner zen:

"You have now understood that there are different ways to live your life and that no way is really better than another, just different. Finally, you have become comfortable in the new place – it's not so bad. Most importantly, your sense of humour will have returned and you find you are able to look at yourself and laugh."

Well, Amen to that!

I read a lot of tips online about how to deal with the transition, and I can tell you that all advice is not created equal. Click here for some well-thought-out and helpful tips from Losses In Translation on how to handle culture shock. In the meantime, I'll be packing my bags for the honeymoon.

[1] Dealing with Culture Shock

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