There are multiple layers to culture shock, but unique aspects of this universal expatriate experience arise while on quick trips back to our home countries.
That’s bound to produce some culture shock.
I recently spent a week in New York City, where the temperature was 70 degrees colder, the food twenty degrees more expensive, and the city filled with more people than all of Djibouti and Somalia combined. There were tunnels under the ground and buildings higher than four stories. There was food that wasn’t really food, advertised in big red flashing lights: McDonalds McDonalds McDonalds. There were people dressed in costumes and Christmas wrapping paper already on sale. Everything felt new and loud and bright and vaguely familiar, but also slightly exotic. It was a week of sensory overload.
Culture shock has many layers, and on a short trip like this one, it is often the external surface things that can cause the most confusion and consternation.
What are some of the biggest (surface) causes of culture shock? Here are five and tips on dealing with them.