March 12, 2006 in London

Stages of Cultural Adjustment

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Based on the stages of cultural adjustment uncovered while browsing the forums at UK-Yankee, some days I find my mood fitting anywhere between stage 1 and 3. I suppose that’s natural really, since my move from Chicago to London was only 11 months ago. But I must say that the most difficult has been stage 2. This mood normally happens when I enter into conversation(usually with a British National) who is upset at the erosion of the culture and how he or she is thinking about fleeing to Australia, France, Spain, etc. With continuous talk like that, its made me doubt my choice to move to London. Not enough to move on yet — but one never knows. Now that I’m here, I must say that I like the concept of living someplace for awhile and moving on. I want to see and live in different parts of the world. So who knows where I’ll be in five years.

Stage One: Enthusiasm/Excitement:
The Individual: is very positive about the culture.
is overwhelmed with impressions.
finds the culture exotic and fascinated by it.
is largely passive, doesn’t confront the culture.
Stage Two: Withdrawl/Loneliness:
The Individual: begins to interact with the culture.
finds the behavior of the people unusual and unpredictable.
begins to dislike the culture/reacts to the behavior.
feels anxiety.
begins to withdraw.
begins to criticize the culture/people
Stage Three: Re-emergence/Adjustment:
The individual: begins to understand more of the behaviors of the people.
feels more comfortable living in/encountering the culture.
feels less isolated.
regains his/her sense of humour.
Stage Four: Achievement/Enthusiasm:
The individual: enjoys being in the culture.
functions easily in the culture.
prefers certain culture behavior to that of his/her own culture.
adopts certain behaviors as their own.
Symptoms of Culture Shock:
– homesickness – irritability
– boredom – hostility toward local people
– lethargy – irrational anger
– withdrawal – excessive sleeping

One Comment

  1. March 20, 2006 at 2:46 pm


    Why won’t this thing let me comment?

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