Worried About Culture Shock? Here’s How to Adjust


Your international move marks the start of an exciting new period in your life. Whether you’re moving for work or for pleasure, your move gives you the unique chance to immerse yourself in a different culture. You’ll have experiences you couldn’t have anywhere else, make new friends you couldn’t live without, and enjoy new sights and foods that will enrich your life.

Even with the excitement that accompanies an international move, most people feel a sense of anxiety about one thing: culture shock. If you’ve never visited the country you’re about to make your new home, it’s hard to know how you’ll react to the new environment. Will you like the food, or will it make you sick? If you can’t speak the language fluently, how will you get around? If you have kids, how will they adjust to the change?

All of these worries are natural, and you’re not alone in having them. Luckily, there are multiple ways to successfully cope with culture shock. Read our blog below to learn about what culture shock entails, how to prepare yourself for it, and how to overcome it.

Culture Shock’s 5 Phases

In most cases, culture shock is inevitable. You might think that you and your family are prepared for your new home’s culture; you’ve read multiple guidebooks, watched movies, and cooked traditional foods. But there’s nothing quite like landing in a new country, stepping off the plane, and seeing, smelling, and hearing the commotion of your new home to make you feel disoriented anew.

The good news is that the more you know about culture shock, the better prepared you’ll be to deal with it. Here are the typical cultural shock phase an international traveler goes through:

As you experience each of these phases (or as you notice them in your children), try not to judge yourself, even when you feel angry and frustrated. Remember, these feelings are natural; everyone who’s lived internationally has experienced them as well. You’ll eventually overcome them and see this country as home—you simply have to work through the other phases to reach that point.

How to Cocouple unpack smpe with Culture Shock

While it’s good to know that your culture shock will eventually wear off, it can be hard to deal with in the meantime. Here are some tips to follow as you work through the five phases to reach independence in your new country:

With these tips, you’re sure to make your international move a success. Check out the other articles on our blog for more tips on how to improve your next move.