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Adapting to a New Cultural Environment Can Be Challenging
Culture shock is often defined as the expected reaction to the unknown, whereas reverse culture shock is the unexpected reaction to the known when an expat returns “home”.
Even if you haven’t lived abroad, try to imagine a time when you have had to adjust to another kind of new culture. For example, maybe an organizational culture when starting a new job. The changes may be big and surprising. This is often known as culture shock. Or, the changes could be small and subtle. This is less commonly known as culture surprise. Regardless, change brings uncertainty. And this concept is all too familiar to everyone after the global pandemic we have experienced throughout 2020.
So, the unexpected CAN and WILL happen. Especially when we intentionally place ourselves in an environment of cultural difference. What skills have you used to manage uncertainty in the past? Check out the ideas we compiled in our first-aid kit for managing culture shock above and see what you can add to your personal toolbox!