Experts call the impact of stress of a new culture on people a culture shock. In varying degrees, it is experienced by virtually all immigrants who find themselves in a foreign culture. Culture shock causes disturbance of mental health, more or less pronounced mental shock. It is believed that a new culture experience is unpleasant or shocking, because on one hand it is unexpected, and on the other hand, it may result in a negative evaluation of one’s culture.
Usually, there are six forms of expression of culture shock:
The main reason of culture shock is the difference of cultures (for example, Germany - Somalia). Each culture has a lot of symbols, images, and behaviors by which we can automatically act in different situations. When we are in a new culture, the usual orientation system is inadequate, because it is based on quite different ideas about the world, other norms and values, stereotypes of behavior and perception.
Normally, being in one’s own culture, people are not aware that it has this hidden part of the cultural iceberg. We realize the existence of this hidden system of controlling our behavior norms and values only when we get in the contact situation with a different culture. The result becomes a psychological and often physical discomfort – culture shock.
Symptoms of culture shock can be very different from an exaggerated care of the cleanliness of utensils, linen, water quality and food to psychosomatic disorders, general anxiety, insomnia, and fear. This can lead to depression, alcoholism or drug addiction, and even suicide.
Of course, culture shock has not only negative consequences. Modern scholars see it as a normal response, as s part of the normal process of adaptation to new conditions. Moreover, in the process of culture shock, a person not only acquires knowledge of a new culture and norms of behavior in it, but also becomes more developed culturally, though not experiencing stress at the same time. Therefore, since the early 1990s, experts prefer not to talk about the cultural shock, but about the stress of acculturation.
Experts call the impact of stress of a new culture on people a culture shock. In varying degrees, it is experienced by virtually all immigrants who find themselves in a foreign culture. Culture shock causes disturbance of mental health, more or less pronounced mental shock.