ml 05 culture shock

The following thoughts are condensed by student A from Life and Work on the Mission Field, By J. Herbert Kane, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980.

This book deals with the stresses of the new experiences of living in another country. There are many physical outcomes of excessive stress upon an individual. These include ulcers, headaches, fatigue, accident proneness, mental inefficiency, and heart attacks. 

“ cross cultural living imposes intense stress on the psychological being of the individual. The degree of stress varies in accordance with the degree of cultural difference between the home and host cultures. Because of significanltly decreased achievement, workers tend to feel guilty for not living up to expectations (58).” 

General Observations:

  1. Culture Shock is Real
  2. It is not a one-way street; many in America have it right now.
  3. It varies in intensity
  4. Going up the Social Scale is easier than going down
  5. Culture shock is usually harder on the wife than on the husband
  6. Culture shock occurs in stages
  7. Missionaries react differently to culture shock

Contributing Factors

  1. Climate
  2. Poverty
  3. Hunger
  4. Disease
  5. Language
  6. Strange customs
  7. Minor inconveniences

How to Overcome Culture Shock

  1. Remember Jesus and the incarnation
  2. Recognize that culture shock is normal
  3. Recall that others have survived.
  4. Learn the language as quickly as possible
  5. Participate in the social life of the people
  6. Look for good things in the culture

When you enter a new culture expect there to be culture stress.  There are things that you can do to help decrease this culture stress though: 

Talk stressful things out
Get into a routine
Learn all you can from what’s around you
Examine your expectations of the people and experiences you expected

self esteem is a measure of How well one is living up to his expectations.  Culture shock is the point at which these stresses start to affect one’s self-esteem. A positive self esteem is necessary the golden rule assumes that one will then be able to love others as one’s self.

Also, see this website author’s essay at Culture Shock

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