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Practical tips and strategies for coping with culture shock

  • Realize that culture shock is normal.
  • Be patient. Don't be frustrated. Understanding a different culture takes time.
  • Talk about difficulties when they arise. Ask people to explain their behavior or what they mean.
  • Talk to other foreign students or friends about the effects of culture shock.
  • Make new friends. Get to know different people.
  • Try out new things – food, clothes etc.
  • Do things on your own or with friends. Make your own suggestions. Take risks. Be open for new cultural experiences.
  • Learn to give and to receive generously of your own and others' thoughts, feelings and experiences.
  • Observe, look around, listen.Observe the body-language of the culture you're living in.
  • Missing the gestures of friendship and goodwill that you are used to can be disappointing and frustrating.
  • Don't think you must or should be liked and accepted by everyone, everywhere.
  • Seek social acceptance and support where you live and work, not elsewhere.
  • Find your own 'islands of wellbeing': some place or thing that makes you feel good – your newspaper from home, a park or art gallery etc.
  • Think positive thoughts. Avoid negative thinking.
  • Keep a diary. Write down your experiences, both good and bad.
  • Learn   

    • to take more notice of written agreements, contracts, signatures, regulations;
    • to respect people's privacy in Germany;
    • to relativize your natural tendency to cooperate and to avoid confrontation – adapt your cultural instincts to the individual situation;
    • to regularly make the 'right' compliments.

  • Realize that relations with German people (both individually and in groups) are often brief, superficial, and purpose-oriented.
  • Realize that in Germany rank and status are defined according to achievement, not by family and background.



Source: I. Zavhorodnya (2010). ZSB-Training, Kulturschock und Heimweh - "Was kann ich tun, um mich besser zu fühlen"

zuletzt bearbeitet am: 16.04.2015