Culture Shock

Defining Culture Shock

Culture shock is defined as the phenomenon of feeling disorientation when living in a new environment and encountering new customs, habits, traditions, values, and beliefs.

To read more about the phases of CULTURE SHOCK, click here (University of Pittsburgh, "Culture Shock").

Understanding Culture Shock

  • It's perfectly normal and even expected to experience culture shock.
  • As our Peace Corps representative Laura Fonseca says, "Culture shock is neither good nor bad; it just is."
  • Have the following in your tool-kit for your when you deal with culture shock:
    1. Adaptability
    2. Compassion 
    3. Common sense                     
    4. Cultural humility          
    5. Flexibility     
    6. An open mind              
    7. Patience
    8. Positivity
    9. Self-awareness
    10.A sense of humor
  • If ever your culture shock becomes too overwhelming to deal with, you are always encouraged to contact our office.
  • If you are ever facing a difficult time while you are abroad, please email edabroad@louisville.edu and write IMPORTANT in the subject field.

Helpful Websites on Culture Shock

Peace Corps Culture Matters Workbook

Peace Corps Culture Matters Workbook: Chapter One, Understanding Culture

Study Abroad Student Handbook Worldwide: Adjustments and Culture Shock

University Studies Abroad Consortium: Culture Shock and Immersion

University of Pittsburgh, Culture Abroad: Handling Culture Shock

Worldwide Classroom: Culture Shock & The Problem Of Adjustment To New Cultural Environments by Dr. Lalervo Oberg

If you've just made it back to the U.S., read more about re-entry shock on our Re-entry page!