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Culture shock, how serious can it get?
If your internship starting date is proximite and you are getting ready to move to Indonesia and begin your internship, please understand this: You will suffer from culture shock.

Don’t think it won’t happen to you. 89% of chances that it will (okay, down to 30% if you have been here and there around the world already). Try to remember situations from your life and imagine even if you moved to the town fifty kilometers away from where you grew up, there were and are things you disliked about it, things that you wish were like they were back home. There will always be unforeseen differences that will rattle you in your new place of life and work. Let's try to prepare for it together.


Different food, weather, language, surroundings, behavior and people. All the rules about Asia and Indonesia your read on the internet: don't use left hand, don't touch people's heads, dress modesty, don't show anger, don't criticise. No surprise one can get confused. When you first think about moving to your new country, you are filled with excitement. You surf the internet and bookshops for maps and books and language tips. You soon find out it's the main subject you want to share with your friends and family about.

Yet, after your arrive, sometimes after days, sometimes after a few weeks, you’re likely to become frustrated, confused and homesick. It is probable that you start doing things that make other people confused, too. You hardly enjoy your time abroad anymore and most of the time you have no idea why. That’s the paradox of the culture shock cycle: most of the time you don’t even know you’re in it. All the pre-arrival work and research is important but awareness and mindfullness is the ultimate key.

Pay attention to the moments when you feel frustrated, irritated or homesick. Since there are new rules, norms, and cues that may be unfamiliar to you, you need to listen to verbal communication and observe non-verbal communication carefully and try to put them in the proper context. For example, if your placement is distant from other interns you might feel isolated because you don’t have any friends in your new location. Or maybe your hosting family tries to convince you it's good to be back home before 10pm.

As soon as you discover something that makes you feel uncomfortable, then you will be able to ask yourself why. Maybe it’s because you don’t speak the language well enough to communicate? Maybe it’s because you communication is too aggressive? Maybe it’s because you’re not aggressive enough. You will see many things that are different from your own culture. It is important not to label everything as good or bad in comparison with your own culture; most customs, habits, and ideas, are simply different from what you your own culture. Try to work out positive solutions. Not all of them will work, but hey, life is a series of errors anyway - and an internship abroad is the best training grounds!

Remember that you are a guest in this country. Sometimes it needs extra effort, sometimes it just passes with time (up to one month, according to what most of our interns say!). Become your own personal social scientist and 
it will become a lifetime beneficial experience. Conduct experimenta, make adjustments. And most importantly, smile whenever possible and have fun, it's contagious and highly effective solution!
#Tags:   #culture shock  
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