8 reasons why experiencing culture shock rocks!

Hélène Rybol is the woman behind the Culture Shock Toolbox, a website for expats and international students – or future ones – and travelers, filled with musings, checklists and mantras. CLEW is happy to feature her “8 reasons why experiencing culture shock rocks!” 

1. Experiencing culture shock puts life into perspective big time! Finding out how other people think, what they believe, how they do things and why, experiencing different smells and tastes in new environments automatically puts our own thoughts, beliefs, actions and environment into perspective.

  1. We’re thrown into a world filled with new sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures. That’s a pretty intense stimulation of the senses!
  2. We question who we are, how we do things, why we do them, what we think and believe in – which, granted, can be difficult, but it’s also exhilarating! It files off the edges and turns us into more well-rounded human beings.

  3. We have to fit everything we learn into a version of ourselves that incorporates all this new-found information. A piece of that new place becomes a part of us and we leave a part of our old self behind. How’s that for organic growth?!

© Miriam Doerr | Dreamstime.com

© Miriam Doerr | Dreamstime.com

  1. We expand our thinking and behavior. Comforting behavior we might fall back on at home, may not work in a new environment. We are forced to expand our notion of what we do and how we do it.
  • It takes time to adjust, so we are forced to take things slowly. It’s a license to chill and do things consciously.

  • By putting ourselves and our own culture into perspective, we get to know ourselves a little better and develop a stronger sense of who we are.

  • Traveling helps us broaden our horizons, become more compassionate and understanding. It helps us not take things for granted or ourselves too seriously, communicate more efficiently, and ideally, develop a profound gratitude and respect for life and this planet.

  • This article was originally posted here (Culture Shock Toolbox June 2013)

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