Skip to content

Culture Shock Essay Titles Examples

The term culture shock was first introduced in the 1950s by anthropologist Kalvero Oberg, who defined it as an illness or disease. Later studies focused on cognitive, behavioral, phenomenological, and psychosociological explanations. In general, culture shock is a consequence of immersion in a culture that is distinctly different from one’s own background or previous experiences. Typically, these encounters involve new patterns of cultural behaviors, symbols, and expressions that hold little or no meaning without an understanding of the new social setting. The most common usage of the term today is in discussing the effects of students’ studying abroad or immigration. Although in the short term culture shock may have adverse effects, in the long run it can enhance one’s appreciation of other cultures, foster self-development, and help a person gain greater understanding of diversity.

Several important factors intensify the effects of culture shock. Greater ignorance of foreign contexts and stronger integration in one’s own native culture contribute to the difficulty of acculturating in a new cultural context. Other variables include intrapersonal traits, interpersonal group ties, the ability to form new social groups, the degree of difference between cultures, and the host cultural group’s perceptions of the new member.

First, intrapersonal factors include skills (e.g., communication skills), previous experiences (e.g., in cross-cultural settings), personal traits (e.g., independence and tolerance), and access to resources. Physiological characteristics, such as health, strength, appearance, and age, as well as working and socialization skills, are important. Second, embracing a new culture includes keeping ties with one’s past social groups, as well as forming new bonds. Those who can maintain support groups fare better in unfamiliar contexts. Third, variance in culture groups affects the transition from one culture to another. Acculturation is more challenging when cultures hold greater disparities in social, behavioral, traditional, religious, educational, and family norms. Finally, even when an individual’s physical characteristics, psychological traits, and ability to socialize are favorable, culture shock can still occur through sociopolitical manifestations. The attitudes of the citizens in a foreign culture may exhibit social prejudices, acceptance of stereotypes, or intimidation. Furthermore, social presumptions may couple with legal constructions of social, economic, and political policies that enhance hardships for those interacting in new settings.

Culture shock develops through four generally accepted phases: the “honeymoon” (or “incubation”) phase, problematic encounters, recovery and adjustment, and finally, reentry shock. In the honeymoon stage, the new environment initially captivates the individual. For example, fast-paced lifestyle, food variety, or tall skyscrapers of a large city may initially awe a newcomer coming from a small town. In the second stage, the area becomes increasingly uncomfortable. Within a few days to a few months, the difference in culture becomes acute and often difficult. Misinterpretation of social norms and behavior leads to frustration or confusion. Reactions could include feelings of anger, sadness, discomfort, impatience, or incompetence. In this phase, the newcomers feel disconnected from the new setting. However, by the third phase, individuals experience their new context with better understanding. They become more familiar with where to go and how to adapt to daily life, for example, knowing where to buy stamps and send a letter. Finally, for those returning to their home locale, they commonly experience “reshock.” In this phase, they must readjust to their previous lifestyle. Things may have changed in their absence, and they must resocialize into their previous cultural setting.

To combat the more distressful aspects of culture shock, the individual must be open-minded to new cultural experiences, must develop flexibility and adaptability skills, and must be capable of building tolerance. Furthermore, he or she must hold positive but realistic expectations. Communication development, whether it be through understanding social norms or decreasing language barriers, is critical to acculturation in a new environment.

Although travelers and study-abroad students often experience culture shock, the extent of cross-cultural interactions goes beyond such narrow conceptualizations. Culture shock also affects many others, such as military personnel, immigrants, minorities entering college, parolees from prison, and married couples who divorce. Additional factors include an individual’s social and class mobility, occupational change, or migration between urban and rural environments.

In particular, immigrants can experience culture shock in a variety of ways. First and foremost is the manifestation of cultural differences in traditions, holiday observations, rituals, and other practices that involve distinct religious differences or educational beliefs. Second, accepted behaviors in both public and private settings may be fundamental to one’s native culture but socially unacceptable in the new environment. An additional hardship may include distance from friends and family and other social support networks. Third, what is particularly difficult for some immigrants is the language barrier. Despite finding comfort and adaptability in the physical environment, they may not be able to communicate successfully. Macro structures of new cultural ideologies, reproduced through micro interactions, can affect the personal psyche of the individual. Further exacerbating the situation may be an underlying racist or stereotypic assumption, which further reinforces insecurity. In addition, a new immigrant may have feelings of anxiety in unfamiliar contexts as a result of a lack of knowledge of cultural behavior cues.

The study of culture shock becomes increasingly important as the globalization process continues. Greater exposure to other cultures requires a better understanding of cultural differences. Furthermore, understanding culture shock can help lessen social problems that are not cross-national. For underprivileged groups, such as minorities, those in poverty, and English language learners, growing accustomed to new environments can be extremely difficult. In addition to problems in day-to-day lifestyles, these groups also may experience culture shock along a continuum ranging from treatment as “the other” to racism, sexism, rejection, or violence.

Educational programs that address cultural differences can minimize culture shock to make the transition phase less overwhelming. Gaining greater understanding of other cultures not only facilitates the acculturation process but also helps build bridges between diverse groups.


  1. Adler, Peter S. 1975. “The Transitional Experience: An Alternative View of Culture Shock.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 15(4):13-23.
  2. Anderson, Linda E. 1994. “A New Look at an Old Construct: Cross-Cultural Adaptation.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 18(4):293-328.
  3. Hofstede, Geert. 2004. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  4. Searle, W. and C. Ward. 1990. “The Prediction of Psychological and Socio-cultural Adjustment during Cross-Cultural Transitions.” International Journal of International Relations 13:449-64.

This example Culture Shock Essay is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic please use our writing services. offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.

See also:

Essay on Personal Narrative A Lesson in Culture Shock Personal .

Personal Narrative- A Lesson in Culture Shock “ You want to be the same as American girls on the outside.” (Tan, Amy) Like Tan in her narrative “Fish Cheeks”, A cultural narrative is one of the most popular school assignments. You can write about what a cultural shock is and why it is so difficult to deal with it. Culture Shock. Culture stun can be depicted as the sentiments one encounters subsequent to leaving their well known, home culture to live in another social or

Free culture shock Essays and Papers

Personal Narrative- A Lesson in Culture Shock “ You want to be the same as American girls on the outside.” (Tan, Amy) Like Tan in her narrative “Fish Cheeks”, in United Kingdom

Culture Shock An Excellent Essay Sample For College

Free culture shock papers, essays, and research papers. Narrative- A Lesson in Culture Shock - Personal Narrative- A Lesson in Culture Shock “ You want to

A Well Written Sample Essay On Culture Shock – What Is It

Culture shock is feeling unsettled when one person moves from one culture to another unfamiliar one. This is usually seen amongst immigrants, expatriates or for United Kingdom

Narrative essay about culture shock BookMySchool

Herewith you can easily find a strong sample essay on culture shock and its symptoms. After reading this paper, it will be simple for you to create your own.

Write Your Culture Shock Essay

10 Oct 2017 English essay paper css 2013 xbox. Essay writing phrases pdf quiz essay using modal verbs conjugations narrative essay about lovelife fitness

A Three Paragraph Essay Template About Culture Shock

A culture shock essay might be your chance to express your thoughts and feelings regarding this social phenomenon affecting all international students in the in United Kingdom

Picking Up Fresh Narrative Essay Topics On Culture

If you have no idea how to compose an interesting paper on culture shock, look through our example herein. It will make your writing process easier.