Culture shock is a concept that comes up often for travelers and is something that everyone should be aware of when visiting an unfamiliar place. Is it a real thing? Sure it is! Having just got back from Taiwan, I can confidently say that I experienced culture shock several times through-out the trip. It wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a thing.
Culture shock is described as ‘a state of bewilderment and distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social and cultural environment’ (dictionary.com). Having never been to Asia previously or been exposed to traditional Asian culture (I stress the word ‘traditional’ because most of the Asian culture that I have been exposed to has definitely been Western influenced), there were a few things that took some adjusting or that were very obviously different from home. Before my trip, I did a bit of research and made note of the common cultural differences that I would need to be sensitive to during my stay. I tried to plan ahead on a few things that would need to be considered (gift giving, family dynamics, etc.), but it’s difficult to prepare for the things you may not expect.
A few cultural differences I recognized while in Taiwan:
Things to remember when in a foreign place:
So, was I in a state of bewilderment or distress in certain social and cultural environments? Absolutely! But again, I chalk it all up to learning experience and better understanding the world around me, recognizing that life in Canada differs greatly compared to the rest of the world.
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.