What is Culture Shock?
I would best describe Culture Shock as a roller coaster ride- fun and exciting, yet a little scary and daunting. It happens from Country to Country, from state to state, city to city and within neighborhoods. Not everybody experiences it in the exact same way. Culture Shock occurs when one enters an unfamiliar place where cultural traits, social norms, beliefs and customs may not be in line with what they are familiar with. Wikipedia best describes Culture Shock in four phases; the Honeymoon, Negotiation, Adjustment and the Mastery Phase, and I've experienced them all firsthand and can attest to their importance from an Anthropological standpoint. My “Honeymoon stage” from the moment I stepped on the plane right up to the moment we touched ground in Kennedy Airport . I knew I was in for a surprise and was excited about the unlimited opportunities which awaited me in the USA. Immediately I was in awe of the way that people lived with their big houses and beautiful homes. Strangers that I met immediately loved my accent and although I spoke English it wasn't American English and that was hard sometimes for them to understand me. I worked as a nanny for a family and they had a hard time understanding my vocabulary for many things. For example, “a Tap” for me is something that water comes out of instead of “a Faucet”. Everything seemed fun and new to me, but then after a few weeks I realized that there's a huge difference between the two cultures, and I started noticing things I did not notice before. I started having a hard time with some things that were an everyday norm for people native to the USA. For instance, every Sunday back in South Africa we had a big lunch with my family. My first Sunday here I walked downstairs just to discover that people here don't do Sunday lunches and my employer told me that that was more of a Thanksgiving tradition. I looked at her like she was from another planet and soon discovered that I am not...
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