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Stages on Adjusting to New Cultures

Whether you are going long term or short term the phases below are real and will affect your time and experience in a new place. You get off the plane just bursting with excitement or perhaps you suddenly realize that you are greatly in the minority. People react in different ways to a new cultures in varying degrees.

There are about 4 stages recognized, that people go through when adjusting to a new culture or way of life.

  • Stage 1 : The Honeymoon
  • Stage 2 : The Crisis
  • Stage 3 : Adjustment
  • Stage 4 : Acceptance

I will explain more on each one below.

1 Stage 1 : The Honeymoon

Stage 1 : The Honeymoon

When you first go to a new country or experience a vastly different way of life there is a lot of excitement and fascination. Everything is new and so amazing, you feel like you could stay forever!

You do not notice the negative things, or you have the grace to over look them. You are on an adventure, out discovering a new world!


2 Stage 2 : Crisis

Stage 2 : Crisis

After a little while you start to feel more irritable, frustrated and angry with the things around you. You can see the faults and can become very critical.

All the people you loved a few days ago are now not your friends, you have developed negative feelings. You are bored and tired. You want to go home! Some people just feel some discomfort where for others it can be all out panic.


3 Stage 4 : Adjustment

Stage 4 : Adjustment

You now have some understanding of your new place/culture and have grown more accustomed to it. You have adjusted some.

You have developed some routine and relationships that have helped you to get to this phase. There is a greater desire to be more apart of things and belong to the group around you. This phase is like a compromise of the first two phases!


4 Stage 4 : Acceptance

Stage 4 : Acceptance

The first 3 stages are what people can really experience on short term trips. This last stage is more for those who are planning to be more involved long term in a place.

Things are starting to feel like home. You have become apart of the new culture or way of life. You have made significant friendships and participate fully in activities. You feel like you belong in the culture and have goals for living there.


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