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Culture Shock

  Each society has its own beliefs, attitudes, customs, behaviors, and social habits. These give people a sense of who they are, how they should behave, and what they should not do. These "rules" reflect the "culture" of a country.
  People become conscious of such rules when they meet people from different cultures. For example, in some cultures, being on time can mean turning up several hours late for an appointment, even for a bussiness meeting. Also, the rules about when to eat vary from one culture to another. Many North Americans and Europeans are used to having three mealtimes a day and organize their timetable around them. In some countries, on the other hand, people often do not have strict rules like these people eat when they want to, and every family has its own timetable.
  When people visit or live in a country for the first time, they are often surprised at the differences that exist between their own culture and the culture in the other country. The most common way of comparing two cultures is in terms of heir differences - not their similarities. For some people, travelling abroad is an exciting experience; for others though, cultural differences make them feel uncomfortable, frightened, or even insecure. This known as "culture shock". Here are several things to do in order to avoid culture shock.

Learning how to adapt to a new culture

  1. Avoid quick judgements; try to understand people in another culture from their own point of view.
  2. Become more aware of what is going on around you, and why.
  3. Don't think of your cultural habits as "right" and other people as "wrong".
  4. Be willing to try new thing and to have new experiences.
  5. Try to appreciate and understand other people's values.
  6. Think about your own culture and how it influences your attitudes and actions.
  7. Avoid having negative stereotypes about foreigners and their cultures.
  8. Show respect, sincerety, interest, acceptances, and concern for things that are important to other people.

  Understanding and appreciating cultural differences can help people avoid misunderstandings, develop friendship more easily, and feel more comfortable when traveling or living abroad.

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