What Culture Shock looks like

Everyone experiences the symptoms of culture shock somewhat differently. There are real physical & psychological impacts of arriving in a new culture. You will be afflicted by ailments without apparent origin, such as headaches, loss of appetite, fatigue and diarrhoea. All your senses are on full alert with new sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Your metabolism may take months to adapt to a new climate. Even while you sleep the environment impacts on your senses, possibly influencing your dreams.

Your behaviour towards other people may take a turn for the worse. You feel impatient when they don't speak your language and become angry when their systems of work are different (and seemingly wrong). Although you consider yourself non-racist you find yourself using generalisations about the locals; "they" are rude, dirty and "they" don't like me. This can be quite a shock to your self-image.

Moving overseas presents many challenges big and small that take you way out of your comfort zone, extending you to achieve extraordinary things. In order to feel comfortable again it is necessary to become familiar with the terrain and adapt to the new environment. When you feel uncomfortable or even completely miserable, it might be reassuring to know that something is happening to you, that you are growing into a more worldly person.