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Culture Shock Revisited or Is It Really All ...

...About Going through the Stages? (the title didn't fit above)

This post got a lot of comments on LinkedIn and Facebook, so I thought I'd post it here:

"Whenever I give a presentation on Culture Shock, I try not to speak a lot at the participants. Instead I allow them to share and, as we discuss what Culture Shock means to them, we discover how different each Culture Shock experience is for everyone.

However, if you read the research available out there on Culture Shock, you’ll discover, that most of it presents the phenomenon of Culture Shock as something that consists of five Protected content . And so when people look at this definition, they immediately begin to try to figure out what “stage” they are at and what awaits them in the future. And while this process may offer some comfort and may show you that you are not alone, it’s not ideal. Because not everyone goes through all the stages, not everyone goes in order the stages are presented, and not everyone can identify with these stages.

So instead of pigeonholing people into the stages and figuring out where each person is and how we can help him/her there, I take a different approach. I encourage participants in my presentations to look at our experiences in another culture not through the lens of “stages” but rather through the lens of “perspectives”.

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Your thoughts?

Margarita Gokun Silver
Expatriate and Cross-Cultural Coach

World Forum