Cultural shock is described as the feeling or state of insecurity that people often face when they must leave the comfort of their familiar cultures/social environment and move to another culture/social environment especially for studying, living or working purposes.

The uncertainty and anxiety are something that varies from person to person but even the most liberal types of people can face cultural shocks despite their current nature to adapt to diverse environments.

If a person moves to a foreign country, there is often a chance of not being able to cope with the foreign language, culture or lifestyle in that area and hence for some people, there are no ways to avoid experiencing a cultural shock with all of some of its phases.

Phases of cultural shock

1. Honeymoon

This term is closely associated with a romantic environment the person experiences during the early stages of his/her adjustment. People have a myriad of positive experiences from the place; for example, they like the food, the architecture or the interactions with new people. However, this phase lasts for a short time only.

2. Negotiation

This is the phase that is usually experienced after one to three months from the person’s arrival in the new norm. There are various scenarios where something unpleasant occurs or some offense is thrown at that person despite his/her best efforts to adapt to the new environment. People at this stage often feel lonely or homesick. The language barrier may become a major issue in creating new relationships.

3. Adjustment and Adaptation

Usually,after a time of one year, the person realizes that he/she must now accept the new routine and cultural differences so to avoid additional anxiety, he/she opens for all the challenges the new environment offers. The person becomes open to dealing with his/her issues. This is the adjustment phase. This is followed by the adaptation stage where the person grows immune to the negative effects of the cultural shock.

4. Reverse culture shock

This occurs when the person returns to his/her original culture. The whole process starts all over again, and the person is going through the motions again.