For me, culture shock is one of the most exciting things about travelling, yet since coined in 1980’s the term holds negative connotations.
In my weeks of research, warnings of “Peruvian Time” have popped up everywhere. It is an aspect of their culture that mainly affects people travelling to Peru on official ‘buisness’. Basically Peruvians are always at least an hour late – whether that be a meeting, a party or even a wedding.
To me it really just makes the culture all the more attractive.
On a more serious note, it can be very scary when there is nothing familiar around you. It’s one thing to confront a language barrier, but on top of that adding every day tasks like grocery shopping, making friends and navigating can make the experience completely overwhelming.
The reason culture shock is viewed so negatively is because it suggests that a person isn’t putting themself out of their comfort zone. A key strategy in overcoming culture shock is good communication.
But that can be impossible when you can’t effectively communicate with anyone.
Point is, there are different types of ‘culture shock’ some are avoidable or trivial, like not having access to your favourite brand of toothpaste, and some shake the fundamental way you live, like language.
But remember travellers, culture shock can help you reflect on yourself, help you grow and learn a different way of life. It really creates a rich travel experience!