No matter how hard people try to come up with some lists of types of people and how much they write about different cultures, each person is a universe. Everyone is unique, and when two unique people meet, it can result both in a life-long friendship and in a shock, not in a very good way. Is that what you thought of when the teacher has assigned a paper?
What Is Culture Shock?
Culture shock is a reaction a person might have while moving to a different surrounding, starting to lead a new lifestyle or simply after facing something unusual in someone else’s behavior. It is, to put it simply, a feeling of being unsure how to react to something when you feel it is strange, but everyone else reacts normally. How does one write about it? Let’s find out.
Experienced Culture Shock
Maybe, you have already come up with the idea of writing about your trip to Bali, China or some neighboring town. Maybe, you decided to talk about your high school, the first day in it, for example. No matter what kind of culture shock you have experienced and want to share, here is how you should do it.
Remember How It Felt
Try to get back to the day you want to describe. What kind of writing have you selected? Will it be a narrative essay or a critical paper with just some elements of narration? The difference is that in a narrative essay you have to concentrate more on what happened and how it made you feel, as well as an explanation of the situation from a different perspective, if possible. If you need to write it in a more critical way, try to analyze why it shocked you and whether or not you think it was objectively strange.
Once you refreshed the accident of the period of time in your memory, you are to make the reader feel that it was them who have experienced what you have been through. The secret here is to apply to the feelings. For example, you can describe the evening when you saw a hungry homeless kitten and people in a café, without anyone thinking about sharing some food with the poor creature. Describe how cold it was that evening, how the lights were shining brightly and how this little cat shivered, trying to warm up in a cardboard box. However, consider, that the details must be convincing in relation to topic. There are many homeless cats, unfortunately, and you have to underline why it was a cultural shock, not a simply heartbreaking situation.
Tell How You Managed to Overcome It
It is not only the description of shock that the people are looking for, but a hint on how to deal with stressful situations. When people read any narration, they want to associate with the main character, so show your reader what helped you deal with specific type of food, new lifestyle and strange behavior. Since the term has many meanings, any piece of advice would be accepted gratefully and will, hopefully, be used later.
Never Experienced Culture Shock
What if you have been thinking for a long while and could not come up with any situation? What if you are sure you are one in a million who has spent all life basically locked in a nutshell and have never been through culture shock? There is still a way out of this situation.
Is It True?
Just think about it one again, but this time try to do it by answering our questions. Have you ever travelled anywhere? Have your tried a part-time job? Have you even communicated to a foreigner or simply a person from a different part of town and felt fascinated by the difference between you? Have you ever been to a Thai, Japanese or Chinese restaurant? Have you ever been on a diet? Any of these experiences might walk hand-in-hand with Mr. Culture Shock, you just need to dig deeper.
Moving out or even joining the school (or kindergarten, if you remember this) can bring you enough ideas of when, how and where you have experienced culture shock.
You can try to ask some of the friends (especially the extraverted ones, they will pour on you a huge amount of cold-water-like details about their experiences) about the culture shock they have been trough. You can take notes or simply remember, and then tell about the happening in the paper. Also, you can try to come up with the idea of what to write about, as your teacher will, probably, never find out you have never been through this.
Do Some Research
Even if you cannot think of anything worthy, there are millions of people out there who have been through culture shock and have shared this in their social networks or blogs. However, it will be better to use their stories as a source of inspiration, but not ideas. Read them, and you are very likely to remember something similar that happened with you, even though you were certain that culture shock has never crossed your way.
Imagine What You Would Feel
Coming up with a good situation could be imagining any awkward situation. Describe the place where it happened, the period of time, mention your age if it matters for the story and become a real fiction writer for a while! It might be fun, and appear to be much easier than you think; all it takes is to grab a pen.
How to Deal With Culture Shock
Here is only a brief list of what can be mentioned in your essay to wrap it up. If you want to know more, you can check this article.
- Talk the shock out with other people who share the experience with you.
- Try to perceive the situation from the native people’s perspective.
- Get to know some locals to help you adjust to the place.
- Get to know the language if the shock is a result of traveling.
- Find something nice to distract you.
- List down what you liked to get back to it every time you face some new shocking situations.
- Get to know the place you are in to be able to get used to it or know the explanation of some strange things.