1 Everyone experiences culture shock and it is impossible to do anything about it.
2 Although it's impossible to avoid culture shock, you can prepare for it so as not to suffer too much.
3 If you prepare properly, you will never experience any culture shock.
Living in a new culture can be exciting, personally rewarding, and intellectually stimulating. It can also be frustrating. It is one thing to visit a country, moving on when you have seen enough, and it is quite another to live there and function according to a different, and sometimes, mysterious set of norms. Participation in an exchange programme provides a rare opportunity for you to begin to know another society from within. But it involves certain responsibilities. The most important one is to adapt one's behaviour to the customs and expectations of the host country. This is not to deny one's own culture but to respect that of others. Another, even more subtle, responsibility you have is to remain open in order to become aware of similarities and differences, and to learn rather than to judge. Be aware that this could be the most rewarding experience in your education.
People usually experience many emotions while adapting to a foreign culture, ranging from excitement and interest in the new culture to depression and fear of the unknown.
The difficulties that you experience as you get used to a new society can be a result of what is called "culture shock". Most experts agree that culture shock is inevitable in one form or another. But getting used to a foreign culture, and living through difficult times of change can be a satisfying experience, and certainly worth the occasional discomfort and extra effort.
One tends to get the impression that "culture shock" is some kind of disease that everyone catches and after a certain length of time, gets over it; but nothing could be further from the truth. There arc people who go overseas and never recover from this condition despite the length of their stay. This is because "culture shock" is actually caused by the mismatch of cultural attitudes, not by some virus. And it's easily seen that the traveller who doesn't keep his or her mind open, and doesn't make any effort to try to understand a foreign culture, is always going to be in a state of shock. Such people should stay at home, for if they hold onto their own attitudes, they will never change!
One of the causes of negative reactions to another culture is the tendency to judge something that is different as inferior. It is important to be open toward the culture into which you are going, to try to get rid of stereotypes, and to read as much as you can about the culture before your departure. If you educate yourself on the many aspects of the country in which you will be living, you will better understand and appreciate your new-
surroundings much sooner. But even with this preparation it is inevitable that you will experience some symptoms of culture shock. You may be unaware that the frustrations and emotions you are experiencing are related to culture shock; when you start thinking back, this becomes apparent. If you understand what's actually happening to you and think about its possible causes, you can decrease the effects of culture shock.