Everyone gets culture shock at some point.
It's normal. It's healthy. It's unavoidable. It's also funny and annoying and depressing and depleting and confusing and sneaky. Sometimes you are having culture shock even when you don't realize it.
Event the Bible deals with themes of culture shock. When the Israelites left Egypt, they complained, “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” (Numbers 11:5-6). The Israelites had just escaped slavery, but they still had culture shock!
One of my friends is an engineering executive at a Korean company. When he sends his Korean engineers to England for training, they pack one suitcase with clothes and one suitcase with Korean instant noodles! Food has always been and always will be part of culture shock.
Another huge part of our adaptation in the culture shock process is coming to terms with a basic fact of life: There is more than one way to do most things. Even though my culture's way of doing things seems obviously right to me, it may not be right for everyone or the only right way.
In fact, here's something I've learned after living for almost nine years in Korea. Some of the things that drive me crazy about Korean culture are strengths if seen from a different perspective. For example, Koreans tend to make plans quickly and to change plans quickly. As a Westerner, I really value long-term, stable planning. But I have also learned that this Korean flexibility (which drives me crazy) is also one of the key strengths which has allowed Korea to grow so quickly and to adapt so well to a rapidly changing global environment.
No matter what specific annoyances and adaptations you are facing, culture shock normally moves in a predictable pattern. As we discuss each step, I'll describe how a new Westerner often feels in Korea. ...