Educator Insights

Dealing with Culture Shock

How do you deal with the frustrations and annoyances that come with navigating intercultural contexts?

In the article Culture Shock: How to Snap Out of It, Kris Acheson-Clair, who has a PhD in Intercultural Communication and grew up as a “Third Culture Kid” shows that no matter how frequently we move between cultures in our language learning and teaching, we will still experience elements of culture shock.

Acheson-Clair suggests four steps for “snapping out” of culture shock:

  1. Catalogue your emotions. What are you really upset about, and why?
  2. Get clear on your expectations. What expectations are not being met?
  3. Switch sides. What might be going on from the local cultural frame of reference? Are your expectations reasonable in this context?
  4. Take action. What is the most important thing to do right now to improve your physical or emotional well-being?

When we are able to snap out of it, we are able to be more fully present to the people around us and interact in ways that may more likely contribute to peace rather than conflict.

How do you implement these steps in your contexts?

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About clwoelk

Cheryl Woelk is coordinator of Language for Peace and specializes in language and peace education in multicultural contexts. She holds an MA in Education and a graduate certificate in Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. Cheryl currently lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her spouse and son.

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Contributing Author

Cheryl Woelk is coordinator of Language for Peace and specializes in language and peace education in multicultural contexts. She holds an MA in Education and a graduate certificate in Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. Cheryl currently lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her spouse and son.

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