Culture shock is the sense of trauma, anxiety, confusion, or disorientation that many individuals experience when they enter cultural surroundings different from their own. Culture shock can arise from an individual's unfamiliarity with local customs, language, acceptable behaviour, communication barriers (e.g. language), dietary differences, different standards for cleanliness, personal space, gender roles and other social practices that may be different (or at odds) with one’s own cultural experience.
Culture shock can prevent you from adjusting to a new place and as a result affect your sporting performance. Minimising the culture shock is therefore important.
Symptoms of culture shock
- Unjustified criticism of people and cultural practices
- Heightened irritability, changes in your temperament, or getting angry easily at things that usually wouldn’t bother you
- A feeling of sadness or loneliness
- Constant complaints about local climate, food, cleanliness, etc.
- Making excuses for staying indoors
- Refusal to learn local language, eat local cuisine or interact with local residents
- Excessive desire to only speak with others who speak your native language
- Excessively positive or superior views of your own culture
- Excessive worry about being robbed, cheated, or getting sick
- Excessive focus on returning home
These feelings are normal, and sometimes, just knowing that, can help ease your mind and help you move forward. The more you experience your new cultural surroundings and understand local customs, the more quickly anxiety will subside.