Everyone experiences culture shock and cultural adjustment in a different way. Some of the signs that a person is having a hard time are: anxiety, impatience, fear and insecurity, isolation and loneliness, fatigue, boredom, confusion, depression, and withdrawal from others and daily life.
I’ve talked to my college-bound son about culture shock. Who talks to your globally mobile employees and their families about culture shock?
Here are some suggestions for dealing with culture shock:
- Understand there are stages of cultural adjustment.
- Recall other times you went through a challenging period of adjustment such as going to university, getting married, or starting a new job.
- Keep an open mind and withhold judgments.
- Ask questions about the culture.
- Be flexible and expect things to be different.
- Be patient.
- Foster a sense of humor.
- Don’t isolate yourself.
- Plan a visit home.
These are just some of the things your employees can do to feel more comfortable in a new location. It is also important to make sure they know about resources for assistance, in both the company and destination communities. An international assignment can be difficult, but discussing culture shock before it happens can help assignees become comfortable in their new location more quickly.
Living Abroad empowers your assignees, their families and business travelers with information on 194 destinations, tailored to their specific needs. Knowledge about a destination builds confidence. Understanding cultural nuance and work style builds productivity. Confidence and productivity build success on the job, from the start.
Written by Cathy Heyne, GMS-T – Managing Director, Living Abroadc