When speaking to an elderly person about their life experiences, you would find many say their most meaningful memories were when they stepped out of their comfort zone and took a risk.
It is extremely easy to fall into the same routines throughout your life, and one of the best ways to shake things up and take a chance is to travel to a foreign country. So many people dream of traveling or living across the world, yet so few actually have the courage to make it happen. There are fears people cannot look past that deter them from ever beginning their journey.
So what is culture shock? It is defined as the feeling of anxiety or disorientation someone experiences when they are suddenly thrown into an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. Culture shock occurs when you are moved to a foreign environment away from the people and places you are familiar with. A certain amount of homesickness is to be expected at the beginning of your travels, when the change in culture, language, and people can be overwhelming.
Although most people who move abroad experience some sort of culture shock, this should not deter you. Experiencing some degree of culture shock is actually a very good thing because it can help you learn about yourself, gives you the opportunity to adapt and think quickly on your feet, and allows you to become accustomed to a completely different environment.
Here are 5 reasons why you actually benefit from culture shock.
1. Exposure to culture shock can help shape who you are as a person.
There will be times when you need to trust your instincts, endure some loneliness, and develop a toughness that may not have been necessary before. The best way to grow is to throw yourself out of your comfort zone, no matter how uncomfortable or frightening it may be. It is during these times that you expose and build your true character, and figure out just what you are capable of.
2. Culture shock often occurs with coming in contact with a new language.
Speaking a second language is a great way to give yourself a leg up on others in an international job market. Being immersed in the new language and culture forces you to learn the language quickly. Since language is connected to your thoughts, this gives you the opportunity to think in a different way and exercise your mind like never before.
3. You have the chance to expand your network across the world.
Once the culture shock starts to wear off, living or traveling abroad begins to truly pay off. The relationships that you gain from moving abroad can benefit you for the rest of your life, wherever your path may take you. Getting to know people with a different background and perspective on life can help you develop a more open mind and may lead to opportunities in other parts of the world as well.
4. Moving abroad will be the most liberating and exhilarating time of your life.
Life is exciting when you are faced with new experiences and opportunities that you have never had the chance to explore before. From trying new foods, to learning the history of your new home, the experiences you have in a foreign country you will remember for the rest of your days.
5. You will learn first-hand a valuable life lesson.
Although every person in the world is unique, we all have similar dreams and ambitions. No matter the language or culture, we each strive to make meaningful connections, live the best life possible, protect our friends and family, and earn a good living doing what we love. Living abroad can show you that despite our differences, we all share many of the same experiences on this earth.
Whether you are a university student considering study abroad, or on an expatriate assignment moving to another country for your career, know that culture shock, although difficult and uncomfortable, truly exercises your mind and creates a positive impact on your life. So take that leap and make that decision to move abroad… You probably won’t regret it.
About Global LT
Global LT, formerly Langua Tutor, was founded in 1979 and for over 35 years, our mission has been to empower corporate employees to live and work successfully anywhere in the world with our language and cultural training, translation and interpretation services as well as expatriate destination and global workforce talent development programs.
Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, with representatives in Boston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, London and Shanghai, Global LT employs over 100 corporate employees worldwide, with a dedicated network of over 2000 tutors, translators, trainers and specialist who deliver our services.
Please fill out a contact form for more information or call + 1.248.786.0999