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What is culture shock and do I have it?

The process of becoming an American is a dream come true for many immigrants. However, settling into the country is not always easy. Some immigrants experience what is known as culture shock, which can produce a number of physical and psychological problems. It is important for immigrants in Kentucky to realize that culture shock can happen, that it is natural, and that it often passes.

The Spruce discusses what culture shock is and how it manifests. Basically, culture shock is the disorientation a person feels as a result of experiencing a culture that he or she is not familiar with. Immigrants to America can find themselves presented with food, clothing, customs, routines, social roles and ways of communicating that are strange and perhaps a little unnerving. Many immigrants have to deal with the fact that the life they knew back home is not the same in the U.S.

Feelings of disorientation can reach a point where a person feels overwhelmed by a new culture. Sometimes immigrants may actually feel ill, developing headaches or allergies, or have problems sleeping. At times they can become excessively worried about their health even if there is nothing wrong with them. Emotional problems, such as depression and anxiety, can also result.

Culture shock can also cause immigrants to manifest varying feelings about their new and old lives. They may develop negative feelings about their new culture and idealize their old country in ways they have not done before. Some immigrants also question why they moved to their new country in the first place. Conversely, culture shock can also induce immigrants to become obsessed with the customs of their new homeland in an attempt to integrate with it.

However, these feelings start to pass as immigrants develop a new sense of autonomy and independence in their new country. So if you are starting to doubt your decision to immigrate to the United States, this is a natural feeling and is likely to pass as your confidence grows. Many immigrants adjust to their new country and find their footing. If you are suffering from cultural disorientation, there are a number of actions you can take to help adjust to your new life in the United States.

Keep in mind that this article is not written to provide you with legal advice. It is only intended to benefit you with general information about immigration topics.