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Culture Shock

What is it?

When we live in a foreign country we experience disorientation, confusion and anxiety caused by our interaction with local people who have different values and ways of thinking. All of this causes psychological stress, and our reaction to that stress is called Culture Shock.

How does it happen?

The four basic causes of culture shock are:

1. The clash of internal cultures

  • Behaviors , values and worldviews

2. The breakdown of communications

  • New language
  • Gestures have new meanings
  • Different social customs
  • Values-affects behavior 

3. The loss of cues or reinforces

  • Food, climate, music, clothing 

4. An identity crisis

  • We lose our cultural pattern of interpretation

Initial Euphoria (honeymoon stage)

Individuals at this stage are fascinated by the new culture. They are seeking similarities in all people. This can last from few weeks up to six months.

Irritability and Hostility

At this stage, individuals start to see differences which seems to be everywhere. Accomplishing small tasks becomes a trouble. Withdrawal from host culture; glamorization of home culture; low work productivity. If you overcome, you can move on to...

Gradual Adjustment

At his stage, things become more familiar. Individuals start to develop an appreciation and understanding of host culture. Develop or use of sense of humor. Get knowledge of both culture and language.

Adaptation or Biculturalism

Individuals accept cultural differences as just another way of living and function effectively in two cultures. High participation and enjoyment of host culture. High productivity.

Coping Strategies

Most important parts are preparation and information. This knowledge gives you security and helps you defining a new interpretation pattern.


  • Sense of humor
  • Flexibility
  • Open-mindedness
  • Ability to fail
  • Curiosity
  • Low Expectations
  • Non-judgmental 

Culture shock is an excellent opportunity for personal growth and reflexion about own culture. The fact that you experience it, it is a sign of awareness, of recognizing the differences and the things in common.We wish you a great experience in Italy– it sure will be very enriching! This is the first step to really understand the culture!


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