Handbook – Cultural Adjustment Phases


Adjustment Phase 1: Leaving Home – Pre-departure Phase 2: Arriving in Host Country Phase 3: Increasing Participation – Culture Stress Phase 4: Culture Shock Phase 5: Adjusting – Adaptation Phase 6: Arrival Home – Re-entry
General Attitude anticipation, eagerness, nervousness exhilaration, excitement confusion, disenchantment, restlessness, impatience impatience, irritation, aggression, hostility adjustment ambivalence and disorientation
Events planning, packing, processing, celebrating, attending orientation on-site orientation, new living arrangements, new classes and teachers, exploration of sights and shops classes, everyday life, responsibilities in living arrangements, unfamiliar food, language, customs uneven work performance, confrontation with difference work performance improves, able to interpret cultural clues, sense of humor returns wanting to tell others about experience and finding others generally not very interested
Emotional Response excitement, enthusiasm, concern about leaving family and familiar environment, desire to escape problems enthusiasm, sense of adventure frustration, uncertainty, irritability, loss of enthusiasm, skepticism discouragement, lethargy, boredom, homesickness, anger, sensitivity and irritability, loneliness, comparing everything to home sense of comfort with surroundings, sense of belonging in culture disconnected, disoriented, irritability, desire to return to host country, uncertainty about definition of “home”
Behavioral Response anticipation, loss of interest in current responsibilities outward curiosity about country, avoiding negative stereotypes, enthusiasm for studies, and site, passive observer of culture search for security in familiar activities (i.e. reading books in English), increased alcohol and/or food consumption, withdrawal withdrawal, avoiding contact with host nationals, excessive sleep, crying, loss of concentration, tension/conflict with others empathy, ability to see things from perspectives of host national criticism of home, friends, and the United States; keen interest in foreign affairs and news; apathy
Verbal Response “I just can’t wait to…” “Awesome! This place and these people are a lot like home!” “Why do they have to do it like that? Why can’t they just…” “This place is awful! I hate it here!” “Home” is home stay/residence hall/apartment, “We” includes host nationals “I never realized….”