Culture shock is the disorientated and uneasy feeling people may experience when visiting a new country or finding themselves in new surroundings.
Usually, culture shock is seen as a bit of a negative thing. Being in a place that you’re not familiar with is sure to bring a bit of a fear amongst even the bravest of people from time to time, and it can also lead to sadness or depression from being away from your usual surroundings and people you know.
However, there are also some great reasons why going through a bit of culture shock from time to time can be good for you. Here are 8 of the greatest reasons why culture shock can help to make you a much stronger person.
1. You will become more of an individual
They say that people find themselves when abroad, and it’s certainly no myth. By being able to experience a different way of living, your eyes will be open to what else is out there. This will help you find your individual self, as you will become more aware of the many possibilities that exist for you and learn more about yourself.
2. You will become more confident
Whilst scary, it is essential that you step outside of your comfort zone in life, and what better way of doing so than going on the trip of a lifetime? More and more people are heading out abroad on their own and are realising that the experience can not only be entirely rewarding, but also help to boost confidence levels.
You will learn to trust your gut and rely on yourself a lot more than you may normally have had to.
3. You will meet lots of new people
It’s fair to say that you won’t be the only one experiencing culture shock.
By getting out there and talking to the locals, you’ll meet lots of new friends. If you get the chance, try to stay at hostels, as you’ll meet new people from all walks of life.
Meeting new people from different backgrounds will give you a new perspective on life and the world.
4. You will realise your own set of values and biases
By visiting different places, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You will meet people who have a completely different set of views and beliefs from you, and that’s fine—you’ll be able to learn from them.
This will also help you to clearly define what it is that you are firmly passionate about. It will also help you get a fine-tuned understanding of what your values and biases are.
5. You will form new values and beliefs
The last point goes hand in hand with this one. By travelling, you’ll meet a diverse range of people and personalities and realise that stereotypes can give you a pretty bad understanding of people.
Adapting to other ways of living will help you incorporate this new understanding into your ordinary life back home.
“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.” — Amit Ray
6. You will gain many new skills and talents
Wherever you travel, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up some of the local language, even if it’s just “hello.” Try and communicate with the locals as much as you can and try to get a taste of the local culture. There will be so many opportunities to learn whilst abroad. For example, when in Thailand, why not try a Thai cooking class? When you get home, everyone will be desperate to try your green curry.
7. You will have the best stories to share
If you experience another country and culture and feel too nervous to try new things, you won’t get the full experience.
Be sure to take as many opportunities as you can and have a good time. Not many people will be able to do what you’re doing, so do it properly and share the stories with all your friends and family when you get back home.
8. You will realise that despite any differences we have, we are all pretty similar to each other
You will soon realise that no matter where you go, we, as humans, all share the same aspirations in life. We want to love and be loved, have fun and live life to the fullest, achieve success, and be there for our friends and family. The sooner you realise this, the sooner you’ll realise that travelling abroad is not so daunting after all, and that, really, you’re just visiting your second home.
Anyone still in doubt should check out the Why Culture Shock Is Good For You infographic from Work the World for more advice and suggestions.
The world is a beautiful place, so be sure to go out and see it for yourself!
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com
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