Five Stages Of Culture Shock

1430 Words6 Pages
“Culture shock is the process of initial adjustment to an unfamiliar environment”. (Pedersen, 1995)
Most expatriates moving to and living in foreign countries experience culture shock and find themselves floundering through a period of adjustment before they can begin to enjoy the experience of being in a new country and discovering its culture. There exists a body of work on the adjustment cycle of expatriates among which Peter S. Adler in his work “The Transitional Experience: An Alternative View of Culture Shock, identified the five stages of cross-cultural adjustment (Adler, 1975); contact, disintegration, reintegration, autonomy and independence more commonly described as:

Stage 1: The Honeymoon Stage
The expatriate might experience some initial excitement at being in a foreign country – everything is new and exciting, and he/she becomes superficially involved in the host culture, much like a tourist. The focus is on the novelty of the new surroundings – house, neighbourhood, office or classes. This period of excitement can last from a week to a month before the second stage sets in.

Stage 2: Culture Shock
The first “happy” stage is very quickly followed by a phase lasting from two to four months where the expatriate is irritated and shows hostility towards host country nationals. The novelty of the “new” has worn off and the primary focus is now on the differences between the new culture and the expatriate’s home culture. Small differences start to become very
Open Document