June 4, 2015 - admin

My own experience with culture shock

Karl Oberg was among the first people to identify culture shock, which he defined as, “the experience of losing all signs and symbols of social communication that is familiar.” It is often thought that this definition of culture shock and culture shock in general is directed at individuals who travel internationally. Although culture shock is very evident in international travelers, it is often overlooked that individuals who merely travel within different regions in their own country can experience the same symptoms of culture shock. College students attending colleges out of their native states are great examples of individuals who experience culture shock on the domestic level.


My own experience with culture shock

By Will Howe

Culture shock is a term used when a person experiences a new environment or culture for the first time. Culture shock is not limited to only people coming from another country, but culture shock can very well occur to a person arriving from another state and to a person experiencing a new environment. Moving from one town to another or changing jobs, one can experience culture shock. Having to adjust to new surroundings and the people can be a tough experience which is also know as transition shock.

Growing up in a small town, Shiprock NM, and later moving to Albuquerque during my junior year in high school, I can say that I have experienced culture shock. Since Shiprock, NM is such a small town, there were some adjustments that I had to go through when I first arrived in Albuquerque. The new surroundings and the new school were the biggest adjustment that had to be made. Having first arrived, there was the excitement of being at a new school and making new friends. I think that lasted for about the first couple of weeks, but I soon realized that I missed my friends and family and making the adjustment was going to be a bit harder. The thought and idea of moving back was on my mind, but getting involved with sports sort of took my mind off my home sickness.

Living with my brother at the time was comforting, but not having the rest of my family there was the worst part. Being away from home at an early age was sort of like living on my own. Today I do believe the experience of a new environment and school was a valuable learning experience. A few of the biggest differences I noticed was going from a school that did not have a very diverse student population to my new school which I thought was very diverse. The size of the school was also a big difference. The size of the city took some getting use to, but making the adjustment was easier than adjusting to school.

Arriving at a new place of employment can have some of the affects of moving to a new place. Adjusting to new rules, regulations, and co-workers will take some adjustments, but I think it is much easier than adjusting to a new place of residence. Having gone through my experiences of a new school and home, I think it will help me in the future if I ever have to move to another place, whether its in state or out of state. I will know what to expect and know not to make comparisons. Experiencing culture shock is a true learning experience, good or bad there is always something that can be taken from the experience.

A personal tale of culture shock

By Jason Ferguson

Although moving to Albuquerque from San Antonio, Texas was not a significantly large distance, I found the distance between the two cultures much larger. As a student from a different state, I experienced several symptoms of culture shock, but have successfully overcome the stresses that accompany it.

When I first arrived to New Mexico, from Texas, the first thing that I noticed was that there was no humidity here. This was a positive attribute to find after spending many hot muggy summers in Texas. I found several other aspects that amazed me such as the beautiful sunsets over the mesa every afternoon. I was also in awe when I saw the Sandia mountains. There are no real mountains in Texas, or at least any that can be compared to the size of those in New Mexico.

Although all of these things in New Mexico caught my eye, my mind began to remember all of the things in Texas which I had left behind. I started to miss the rural area that I used to live in. The nearest town at home was about 10 miles away. It was simple to say that I was not use to the closed in area of Albuquerque. I was also not used to all of the dust and dirt that is so evident in New Mexico. In Texas, grass grew everywhere covering everything that you could see. I started to miss the sight of greenery and dislike the sight of the desert. One thing that I remembered missing most was all of the Bar-B-Q that was in Texas. I could not find any Bar-B-Q that was equal of that in Texas anywhere in New Mexico. This may sound silly, but these little things that used to be a part of everyday life really made me homesick and depressed.

It took me about six months for me to feel comfortable with my new home. I started to make friends that I lived with in the dorms and in my classes. I also started to get involved in school activities which helped to take my mind off things. I tried to eat different kinds of foods that I was used to. Basically, i tried taking in the New Mexican culture with an open mind. I think that this willingness to adapt to my new environment helped ease the longing for my old home in Texas.

I have lived in Albuquerque for three years now and enjoy my home here. I have traveled around the state learning about some of the history and culture around different places in the state. Although my experience with culture shock was not significant as some peoples’, it was a good learning experience that i am glad to say that occurred. I can now look back on how I handled this experience when I travel to new places, even for a short time. I am still proud to be a Texan, but do not feel that I have to return any time soon. Culture shock at first discouraged me from traveling, but in the end made me want to explore more of the world.



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