Need for change emerges whenever the system becomes unstable. At that point in time, one has to decide whether to escape from the situation that brought new circumstances or to change himself, adjusting this way to the new system that occurred.
The more we are thrown out of our balance, the bigger the need for change.
Cultural shock is often defined as an experience of facing new circumstances when one moves to the environment different from one’s own.
One faces a new way of life, changes a social setting and is thrown out of his personal balance. Feeling of disorientation and questions like: Why did I need all of this? emerge.
The literature describes pretty realistically what each of us goes through when facing the new environment. No matter how prepared we might be, when moving to the new environment, rarely do we manage not to undergo some kind of stress or emotional imbalance.
When one changes their country of living, there are pretty fair chances one will have U-curve alike emotional reaction to what is happening in their life: Honeymoon phase when everything is so new and thrilling, every new thing encountered produces positive reaction and fascination: from people to food, new neighborhood, and language. One notices only moments abundant with joy and I-am-never-coming-back thoughts.
However, reality strikes soon. And not just reality. But the feelings of frustration and negative thoughts too. Because soon everything becomes so annoying. From the new language you loved, which suddenly tires you, to people who seem so reluctant. Feelings of being at the wrong place occupy you, you are missing home and people who truly understand you.
This period doesn’t last forever. If staying long enough, you slowly start adjusting to it. Seeing both the good and bad sides of the new environment. You develop a mechanism to cope with difficulties, pretty much on your own, but enjoying this battle and gaining self-confidence that you could solve whatever problem occurs. You start appreciating good things about your new home, of the country where you are and start slowly, thoroughly shaping your microcosmos around you. Finding people you like to spend time with, finding your places and organizing your time the way it suits you. Environment impacts you, but you become able to give feedback and impact your environment in return.
How does it feel when you take on the adventure of working and living abroad?
All of this happens. How long each phase is going to last, depends on the individual. But one thing is sure, in order for productivity to occur, one must first cope with learning: about new culture, its vibes, social norms and people.
And no matter how much globalization brought the different cultures together and made information exchange fast enough to let you keep pace with the world, challenge of working in new environmental setting stills affects everyone. Cultural shock strikes even then.
What we learned through the challenges of international working environment and living abroad?
Embrace the change
If your emotional system becomes unstable, which eventually will, do not be afraid to undergo change. Let it do its job. It will shape you, it will make you rethink and question, but it will bring new opportunities too.
Change takes courage
You either can run away or stay and change yourself. Change takes courage. To accept that you might not have been right all the time, to accept that it might not be easy to face with new and unknown, to see yourself that you might not conduct new tasks with easiness, but rather have to invest additional effort. Change takes courage not to be same again.
Let other people accept that you have changed
They might not like it at first. They might see you decided to change your career path. They might see you changed the way you look upon things. Being able to change brings independence from your old environment and people might react negatively to it. Clutching to you and pointing out that they haven’t imagined you would change that way. But be courageous. Give them time to understand you. Give your self-time to understand their fears. And give them the opportunity to introduce your new self to them.
Who knows, you might inspire them for change too.