You know that class I said we were in? Well, it continues to be very interesting and has led me to another blog-able gem: culture shock!
Culture shock affects everyone differently, but pretty much everyone experiences it in some way while living abroad. I know it hit me hard around this time last year – about 2 months into our trip. I got pretty sick for a few days, and that seemed to amplify my hatred of Argentina. I even wrote an entire journal entry about everything I hated about Argentina, which detailed my frustration for not completely understanding the language to how the amount in my bank account was a seemingly never-ending downward spiral. Of course, I got over this after a few days, but those few days were pretty rough. I thought that I was the only one feeling these things, but I didn’t know that it affects everyone!
Anyways, back to our Organizational Behavior class. We read a chapter about culture shock and this graph really spoke to me and allowed me to really understand just how universal culture shock is:
The graph essentially shows a 1 to 2 month “honeymoon” period (a.k.a. the BEST TIME EVER!), followed by that period of not-so-happy times, and then it all levels out again, you come to terms with the new culture, and you feel more comfortable. (I think most of us would agree that this graph is a pretty accurate depiction of culture shock.)
Like I said before, thankfully these hard feelings for Argentina passed and I was able to love my time there again! I think the main thing that helped me get out of my funk (other than just plain old time) was getting out of the city and being distracted by new and exciting things.
Sadly, that honeymoon period doesn’t last forever, but I just wanted to put my two cents in and remind anyone who is feeling this that it does get better. You’ll go home eventually and reminisce of all the awesome times you had abroad, and you’ll think those homesick feelings were ridiculous (because – let’s be honest – life at home is rarely as exciting as living in a foreign country!)
*Graph taken from International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior by Nancy J. Adler with Allison Gundersen.