I’ve been experiencing a lot of culture shock lately. It’s been rather tough adjusting to something so different; something that I could not have even imagined.
Signs of Culture Shock Include:
- Extreme homesickness.
- Feelings of helplessness/dependency.
- Disorientation and isolation.
- Depression and sadness.
- Hyper-irritability, may include inappropriate anger and hostility.
- Sleep and eating disturbances (too little or too much)
- Excessive critical reactions to host culture/stereotyping.
I’ve especially been feeling the helplessness, disorientation, sadness, and moodiness. It’s been hard to meet people and even though I’m around people and chatting, I still feel lonely sometimes.
I decided that like a lot of issues, the first step was admittance and acceptance. I wrote myself a little speech to give me confidence and hope. Thing is, it worked. I met a couple people on a walking tour I went on and continued to meet more from there.
“Culture shock has plagued me like a disease I have never known. It’s muted my voice and zapped my spirit. It’s turned my reality into a dream, where I cannot figure out if I’m real or not.
Each day passes me by and I can feel myself shrinking smaller and smaller. My voice so small that I can barely squeak out a word. My confidence and courage packed up and left a while ago. I feel alone and scared; like a ghost, because I feel invisible. I tremble and shake at every moment. I look out at the people around me in fear. Can I trust them? Will it be okay? Will he hurt me? Will she rob me?
I find I am having some of the same problems I have a lot of places. I feel alone and I start to develop in a slump. It gets so bad that I don’t even want to talk to others. I feel as though I have started to forget English. I hear it a lot less and speak a lot less and maybe I’ll end up as a mute. I do not feel strong, I feel weak. I don’t want to go out and drink, I want to dance! All I want is to dance and sing and listen to my American tunes.
Acceptance is the first step to getting over culture shock. This is my acceptance speak. I am weak, I am tired, and I don’t know how I can keep on going. I miss nature, I miss my friends, I miss how things are in the USA. All I read is shootings and guns and messed up politics and that is not the America I want to go back to. In the end I’m stuck in a cross-roads of ever changing environments. I need to adapt, I need to fight.
This is my acceptance speech. I am facing a lot of challenges. I’ve accepted and now it’s time to keep my chin up high, fight, smile, and find somewhere to dance, to explore. I can and I will get over this disease they call culture shock.”