1.2 Billion International Tourist Arrivals in 2016, but how do they cope with Culture Shock?

The beauty of a new culture can only be felt if you allow yourself to fully immerse into the unknown. Only then will you openly see the patterns and characteristics that nation, community, people share. Although, what does “Culture” mean? Parson (1949) described this term as;

“Culture…consists in those patterns relative to behaviour and the products of human action which may be inherited, that is, passed on from generation to generation independently of the biological genes”.

Culture therefore is unique to each group, place and nation and can only be completely understood if you allow yourself to fully submerge into it. Although, this can be problematic as many experience “Culture Shock”, which can be understood as the difficulties cultural differences can bring to the traveller. While this can cause stress and anxiety for the traveller, it can be overcome. This can be understood by the Four Stages of Cultural Stages, which are:

1. The Honeymoon Stage

This is when you’re overwhelmed with excitement about the differences in culture and social norms.

2. The Culture Shock Stage

During this stage of culture shock, you become aware that differences in cultural understanding and language barriers makes simple tasks and conversations difficult to manage leading to feelings of irritability, anger, frustration. For example, feeling frustrated due to the language barrier.

3. The Recovery Stage

This stage sees the individual accept the differences between cultures after they have developed a routine and become comfortable with their surroundings. Due to the traveller fully immersing themselves into the new culture has supported the transition from culture shock to culture recovery.

4. The Adjustment Stage

After the traveller has adjusted to the new culture by drawing together the resources they need to feel at ease, they suddenly become more comfortable with the host culture and those everyday tasks and conversations that seemed so difficult become effortless again.

Experiencing feelings of Culture Shock is a normal and worldwide shared feeling and should not be seen as embarrassing. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed by the new cultural differences. By staying motivated and determined, the amazing outcome of adjusting to the new culture will soon follow. Which is worth the wait!

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2 thoughts on “1.2 Billion International Tourist Arrivals in 2016, but how do they cope with Culture Shock?

  1. Thanks for the insight, great article! And once you get to the adjustment stage, you get culture shock once you return home! When I came back to the United States after living in France, it always caught me so off guard to be able to accidentally overhear conversations without an effort to understand! Haha

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