Change upsets us. Even happy changes make us feel mixed up and confused.
Changing to a foreign culture is even more upsetting. When we don’t know simple customs like how to buy groceries or use the bus, life becomes much more difficult. People may be rude or mean to us because we don’t know what to do. Every time we make a mistake, we feel a little bit of extra stress. Over time, the stress adds up and becomes anxiety and fear.
“Moving to a foreign place is 'high-risk, high-reward.'” Moving to a foreign place is “high-risk, high-reward.” When we take on the challenge of living far from home, we learn a lot about ourselves and about our homes. Every human can learn new customs, but the learning process is painful. We call this pain “culture shock.”
Why is culture shock so painful? Because learning causes stress. Culture shock means learning a very large amount all at the same time. With help, you can change culture shock into a great experience. The anxiety of culture shock is called adjustment anxiety.
Adjustment anxiety can be very painful, but it is also healthy and normal. So with the help of a counselor, adjustment anxiety can be softened. When you are able to accept the stress of living in a new place, you are able to accept and use all the new knowledge you gain from the experience.
I have years of experience helping people who are living in a foreign place. And I understand the experience of culture shock very well. If you need help with culture shock after moving to Portland, please get in contact with me.
If you have come to Portland from a foreign country, you have the opportunity to become a person with international perspective. This will make your life richer and it will also make you a more valuable member of the Portland community and your home town’s community.