Moving to a new country is always an exciting feeling, no matter if you have decided to study abroad, you are searching for a new job or you have been offered one, moving to China suppose a Culture Shock for any Westerner and it might be even more challenging when is not an individual but the family unit who is moving abroad.
What is the Culture Shock ?
Culture shock is defined as the feeling of disorientation, insecurity, and anxiety one may feel in unfamiliar surroundings.
Most people who live in a foreign country for some time go through an adjustment period during which “Culture Shock” is experienced. Once culture shock is understood, its effects can be minimized dramatically.
Expatriates usually experience the following phases while adjusting to their new country:
During the “Honeymoon Phase”, newly arrived expatriates are excited about their new surroundings and are eager to explore the new country. They are very positive about their relocation and the newness of the country.
Simple day-to-day tasks, such as taking transportation, shopping or attending school meetings, can become a real challenge in a different environment. This is sometimes exacerbated by language barriers.
Six to 12 months after arriving in the host country, expatriates usually begin to grow accustomed to their new home and know what to expect from their surroundings. Daily activities become routine and the customs of the host country are accepted as another way of living.
At this stage expatriates are able to communicate more freely with locals. The previously hostile country has now become a place from which expatriates can learn and enrich their lives. Once expatriates have reached this stage, the longer they remain in the host country, the more unique their experience will be.
Reverse culture shock
Reverse Culture Shock occurs when expatriates return to their home country after a long period away. As expatriates had to previously adjust to a new environment, returning home presents a similar challenge.
Some basic steps will help you to manage the stress and stop feeling as “a fish out of water”
1 Find new friends
Make and online search, read newspapers and local magazines and join an expatriate club in your city will help you get to know people in your new environment. Knowing people that have experienced the same as you will make you feel supported and understood plus you can learn how they dealt with it.
Wuxi International Club has been working to make Wuxi newcomers to feel at home for more than 10 years.
2 Be open minded
Withholding your judgment will allow you to be an objective observer and will facilitate the process of cross-cultural understanding.
Be open to accepting cultural differences and alternative ways of doing things. The unfamiliar may be frightening at first but in time you will find yourself taking these once-unfamiliar situations for granted.
3 Learn Chinese
Easier said than done, this will increase your communication skills and you will soon realize that Chinese people are happy to see that you at least trying.
Being able to communicate with the locals will minimize the stress of your move.
Establishing a routine like the time you meet your friends, you go to the gym or to your Chinese classes will give you a sense of stability plus will keep you busy.
5 Finally, don’t take it too seriously!
Don’t be too hard on yourself if proudly practicing your new words the locals laugh at you, you don’t know what to do in a social situation or the next in line in the local store seems extremely interested on your shopping.
If you laugh at yourself others will laugh with you.
Contact the Wuxi International Club:
Email: [email protected]