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UVM Study Abroad Pre-Departure Guidebook

Section 2 Cross Cultural Issues

Culture Shock and the Process of Cultural Adjustment

What is it?

Do you have an overwhelming desire to go home? Have you been feeling frustrated? Do you feel like you don’t belong?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you may be experiencing culture shock. Culture shock occurs when the familiar signs and symbols of one’s own culture are replaced by those of a new and unfamiliar culture. Culture shock is the natural reaction that occurs when we are uprooted from our cultural environment and transplanted into a new situation where the words, gestures, customs, signs and symbols that have previously helped us to make sense of our surroundings suddenly have no meaning or have new meanings. While culture shock implies something immediate, the onset is usually gradual and cumulative.

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Last modified April 26 2012 11:07 AM

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