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gememers's avatar

How have you experieced cuture shock?

Asked by gememers (439 points ) November 28th, 2010

Where were you and where had you come from?

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

When my family moved from Seattle to Memphis TN, they had trouble understanding people’s accents.

The kids as school said to my sisters, “Hey, ya’ll talk just like those people on TV.”

They had trouble understanding a commercial which advertised with every box of Duz detergent, you got a “flair tal” (which they finally translated to “flowered towel”).

JilltheTooth's avatar

I always found culture shock to be more about coming home than going away. When I have visited other places I’ve been aware that they would be different, and thus was prepared. What surprised me was coming home after I’d gotten used to other ways of thinking and doing. I never thought I’d have to adjust to the familiar, but it was often harder for me than being away. For example, after I’d visited Japan and China for an extended period and come home, I knew that everything in English, written or spoken was for me. Reading every sign and listening to every conversation was exhausting.

jonsblond's avatar

Moving from Las Vegas to central Illinois when I was 16 was a huge shock for me. My graduating class at my high school in Vegas would have been 900. The school I attended in Illinois was 200. I was not used to going to a school where everyone knew me. I was told I had an accent. I never knew people from Vegas had an accent! haha

It was very strange moving to such a rural area. I missed the mountains and hated the corn fields. I was miserable, and swore I would return to Vegas once I graduated. I did return, but eventually came back to Illinois. I’ve been here now for 20 years, and now I never want to go back to live out west. I love it here. Funny how life works sometimes.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Yes, numerous times. I had the good fortune in my 20s and early 30s to work for a large Japanese corporation, and they moved me all over Asia. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve experienced culture shock. It’s amazing to have your bubble burst about some exotic place. It doesn’t happen quickly, but it takes several months to set in. One morning you wake up to the realization that these people are really different than you. They look at the world in strange ways. Then comes the understanding that their way is just as valid as your own.

tedibear's avatar

The biggest culture shock I got was moving to Georgia. I had grown up in Western New York and gone to school in NE Ohio, which are close to being interchangeable. I moved to Georgia to teach school and for the first two weeks, I had a hard time understanding what my kids were saying. The two biggest issues for me were:

1. The slooooooow pace. The grocery store cashiers had scanners and I could have hand-keyed the stuff faster than they scanned it. I don’t need a lot of hurry-hurry in my life, but I do need people to move along. Of course, I’m sure my pace would have seemed hurried to them.

2. The fake manners. Everyone was polite to my face. I learned later that this was how the other 5 teachers who were from the north were being treated. Any time we tried to go the next step past polite and into friendship, we were met with a chill. This chill came far more often from the white teachers than from the black teachers. I never did figure it out.

I spent some time in Cambridge, England. The only thing that was odd for me was that the family with whom I lived only changed their clothes once a week. I’m sure that they thought that my roommate and I were laundry divas.

YARNLADY's avatar

Here are some more very interesting stories from Fluthers last year.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes. I moved from what I think is the greatest of the continental United States to a state I had never even given much thought about. Ever. I moved from a place where I wasn’t unusual to a place where I was looked at as a 2nd class citizen by a lot more people than I wanted to accept at first. I’ve adjusted but I don’t like it any better.

incendiary_dan's avatar

As a critic of our culture, I can honestly say I do just about every time I leave the house, and sometimes inside of it.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, in December 1988 when we visited Disneyworld. But it only lasted for a day.

And in summer 1986 when we visited Egypt.

Meredith's avatar

North American/Australian living in New Zealand. Have traveled many places for extended periods of time, spent quite a bit of time in the Pacific Islands (primarily the Cook Islands) and nowhere have I experienced a greater culture shock than the one we’re currently in.

North Americans (I’m a big-city Canadian one of those and am generalising) are gregarious, tend to wear their hearts on their sleeve, outwardly emotive and tactile, and are (for the most part) quite frank about things. New Zealanders on the other hand (particularly the South Islanders) are quite conservative and reserved. “Cosmopolitan” or “Multicultural” are not words that would ever be used to describe the South Island of New Zealand, for sure!

Stunning scenery and delightful lifestyle, though. Peaceful and truly breathtaking. It’s quite a privilege to live here and the culture shock will wear off eventually, I imagine. ;)

jonsblond's avatar

@Meredith I heard news of a large earthquake in your area today. Hope you are ok.

Meredith's avatar

Thanks, Jonsblond :) All fine here. Not so further up the road, however. My friends are fine, but again, not so for many others. It’s been a difficult couple of weeks, but Kiwis are a hardy bunch, and are just getting on with it. It’s really amazing, actually. The clean up has been going well, but there will be much to do for many months to come. Thank you for your thoughts. :)

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