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Culture Shock 1. Consider The Benefits

4. Slow Down

The term ‘culture shock’ often evokes negative connotations. Using the excerpt above, ask yourself the following question: How have challenging cultural transitions positively impacted my life?

This is an opportunity to slow down and take it easy. Take your time to adapt. Let go of any preconceptions you might have. Leave stress and pressure behind. Don’t force yourself to visit as many sights as you can - even if you think you should. The point is to enjoy yourself, isn’t it? Make a choice and then relax. This is a great time to get to know yourself a little better by observing your reactions and understanding your needs in a challenging situation. Allow yourself time to fully experience this transition.

2. Use Food As An Icebreaker Food can give you a tasty insight into another country’s culinary traditions. Food is also a source of comfort. It’s a great way to learn about a new country and connect with people over something that we share: the need for food. A great icebreaker for sure!

3. Communicate Please, thank you and a smile go a long way. Learn some basic phrases to get you started. Bring a small phrase book, pocket dictionary or app, depending on where you go and what kind of trip it is. While this may not lead to an in depth conversation about political or social issues, it gives you a place to start. Communicate not only to express your needs but also to ask questions and learn something. Remember that most communication is non verbal, so don’t be afraid to use your hands and feet - that’s always fun no matter how clumsy it might feel! Don’t just stick to words. Find out about body language. What’s the polite way to hail a cab? Beckon someone to come over? Is it rude or polite to look someone directly in the eyes? Observe.

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5. Practice Gratefulness Seeing life from a different perspective is a wonderful way to learn to appreciate what we are given in life, both at home and on the road. Here are some of the things I’ve become grateful for while travelling: • Hot water • Clean water • A bed • Access to fresh food • Restrooms! Mostly, though, I’m grateful for the kindness of strangers, conversations I had with people I met along the way, friends I made, lessons I learned and the privilege of having had the opportunity to experience all this in the first place.

H.E. Rybol is an Adult Third Culture Kid, which means that her parents have two different nationalities (German/ French) and she grew up in a third country (Luxembourg). She has a BA in English (USA) and an MA in Interpreting, Translation and Diplomacy (England). She has spent her life living, working, studying and travelling around the world.

www.americaninbritain.co.uk

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American in Britain Summer 2015  

The Summer 2015 issue features theatre reviews of Alice’s Adventures Underground, Billy Elliot The Musical and High Society at The Old Vic;...

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