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A Culture Shock in Thailand?

The process to adjust to a very different culture




A culture shock is a quite normal reaction when you are put into a new cultural setting. You can't anymore control the environment as you were used to do back home.

There are some clear symptoms of having a culture shock, which we will mention first. After that, we will introduce you the common four stages of a culture shock, and to the phenomenon of a reverse culture shock when you finally get home again.


Symptoms of a culture shock


You make an experience you rarely had back home - you are deadly bored, and you don't have the energy to do anything against that.

While vibrant life is all around, you are staying in room and spend lots of time with reading or your computer, just to avoid any contact to locals.

You are feeling quite isolated and a bit helpless.

You are sleeping much more than you ever did before, and you are tiring quickly.

You are suffering from all sorts of unspecified body pain and aches.

You are feeling homesick.

You find yourself unduly criticizing local customs or ways of doing things.



The four stages of culture shock


Stage 1: The honeymoon stage

You are excited about the different and new environment. You even send ecstatic messages to your family and friend how great it is to be in Thailand.


Stage 2: Your culture shock - irritation and hostility

You start feeling that all these different things are inferior to what you know from back home. The new culture confuses you, and how they do things feels frustrating. Saying 'doing things in a different way' is never far away from saying 'doing things in a stupid way'. You find yourself blaming the new culture (and its shortcomings) for your frustration, rather than blaming the adaptation process you are going through.


Stage 3: Cultural adjustment, gradually

Your humor is coming back, and you feel more relaxed, and you develop a more balanced and objective way of your experience.


Stage 4: You become a bi-cultural person

You feel a sense of belonging to the new culture, and you develop sensitivity towards it.



And then: The reverse culture shock

Be prepared to experience the reverse process when you return home after a few months or years.

You may suddenly feel far-sick, as opposed to homesick when you came to Thailand, and you start complaining that it's all not as you expected it to be back home.

Then, just smile and keep calm since you know it already: That is the reverse culture shock.




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