Essays About Culture Shock: Top 5 Examples and 7 Prompts

Writing essays about culture shock promotes awareness, improves character, and fosters meaningful interactions; reading our top examples and prompts to get started.

Two things stood out when I visited Thailand: the beautiful tourist destinations and the country’s food. I enjoyed the meals and snacks, especially Roti Sai Mai. It’s a sweet candy floss rolled into a salted roti sheet. My peers, however, liked eating Nhon Mhai or silkworms sprinkled with pepper and soy. I knew the country had exotic foods, but it still shocked me. 

Culture shock happens when one is unfamiliar with the environment and culture of a place they’re visiting. People who usually experience this are international students, migrant families, and first-time travelers like myself. An effective way to promote awareness of its symptoms and stages is through writing essays about the subject.

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5 Essay Examples

1. What Is the Culture Shock? By Anonymous on EduBirdie.Com

“Culture shock is the result of national culture. Everyone has a culture which he or she grows, works, and lives. Because of that difference, people are having trouble to adapt new culture.”

In this essay, the author uses students studying abroad as an example to explain culture shock. They mention that culture shock is inevitable even if students prepare themselves for the problems they may face when moving to another country. As a result, students become unfocused and stressed and develop psychological problems.

According to the writer, culture shock is an insurmountable problem, but there are ways to reduce its impact, especially on students. It includes orientation programs from universities, research about the new culture they will encounter, and human interaction.

2. Long Essay on Culture Shock by Prasanna

“Traveling to a foreign country is one of the best ways to step outside your monotonous life. The fear of facing unfamiliar situations holds many people from stepping out of their comfort zone. When you reach a new country, you will have the opportunity to see and experience things that you were longing for, have fun and enjoy the atmosphere that you can’t do in your home country.”

Prasanna describes culture shock’s many benefits that significantly improve one’s life. For example, it assists in breaking routines so one can adapt to others’ customs. It leads to individuals being more flexible and expanding their horizons. 

Culture shock also helps build self-confidence and overcome challenges. People make new friends and create new experiences by exposing themselves to unfamiliar cultures, places, and groups. The new knowledge about a foreign place dramatically influences one’s personality and promotes self-growth. Ultimately, Prasanna believes that culture shock is difficult at first, but one becomes comfortable with the changes around them as the day goes by.

3. Cultural Shock and Adaptation by Anonymous on GradesFixer.Com

“… The differences of how people live, their beliefs, values are rather obvious. We not only find no evidence of convergence – we actually find that the gap between the value system of rich and poor countries have been growing, not shrinking, during the past 20 years.”

This essay contains various quotes from people knowledgeable about culture shock, such as Michael Minkov, the author of “Cultural Differences in a Globalizing World.” The writer says that traveling abroad is more than just enjoying the sights, festivities, and food. It’s about learning and understanding how its people live — the travelers’ difficulties in understanding these lead to culture shock. Since this is a broad and sensitive topic, the author believes that people should learn about the culture and its differences to know its causes and develop effective methods to overcome them.

4. Culture Shock — What Is It by Anonymous on IntervarsityChicago.Org

“Culture Shock is the disorientation and change that is experienced after an international relocation… You will feel as if you are in the wrong place; everything will appear abnormal and you will often find things hard to comprehend.”

The author defines culture shock as mental confusion brought on by moving to a foreign country, locale, school, and workplace. Various factors contribute to culture shock, and its effects differ from one person to another. For students and employees, culture shock makes them unproductive and tired. 

The essay further explains that the usual cause of culture shock is homesickness. People feel various indicators like insomnia, anger issues, irritation, and many others. Their advice to readers dealing with culture shock is to look for its causes to handle it properly to avoid adverse effects.

5. My Experience of Culture Shock in the United States by Anonymous on GradesFixer.Com

“Many of the customs of the new culture may seem odd or uncomfortably different from those of your home country. Being in a new and unfamiliar place can be challenging even for the experienced traveler, and it is normal to feel frustrated and isolated.”

Being from Kazakhstan and using a Hollywood movie as a basis for American life, the author has no idea that pursuing their dream of living in The Land of the Free will give them culture shock. The writer discusses three significant differences between their home country and America.

First, compared to their native land, where people only befriend those they trust, Americans are approachable and make easy friends with strangers. Second, privacy and personal space are nonexistent in America. Lastly, Americans’ ideas of equality spill into how they talk and dress.

7 Prompts for Essays About Culture Shock

1. Culture Shock: Defined

Use this prompt to discuss culture shock by talking about its literal meaning, experts’ views, and your idea of it. Then, pick what’s consistent across these varying explanations to create a comprehensive definition of culture shock. Add relevant citations from reliable sources to strengthen your statements and make the essay more informative. 

If you find this topic complex, simplify it and write a five-paragraph essay instead.

2. Symptoms of Culture Shock

Essays About Culture Shock: Symptoms of culture shock
For this prompt, briefly discuss the definition of culture shock and then identify its symptoms

Some common symptoms of culture shock are feeling isolated, bored, and irritated. However, it differs in the stage, cause, or degree of culture shock a person has. For this prompt, briefly discuss the definition of culture shock and then identify its symptoms. Expound on each stage’s indicators and how long a person typically goes through these symptoms. The essay must also explain how these signs differ from one individual to another.

3. The Phases of Culture Shock

There are four stages of culture shock: honeymoon, frustration, adjustment, and acceptance. Explain each stage and focus on what causes an individual to transition from one phase to the next. Add how long each stage lasts and what feelings are involved. Include examples so readers can better understand each stage.

4. How to Overcome Culture Shock

Certain situations do not allow an individual to return to a familiar environment to get rid of culture shock. In this prompt, center your essay on ways to help people cope with culture shock. Search for effective ways to adapt to the changes, such as developing new hobbies and making friends in the new place. 

5. Factors and Effects of Culture Shock

Essays About Culture Shock: Factors and effects of culture shock
In your essay, briefly explain culture shock and list its common causes to help the reader verify if they’re experiencing this phenomenon

Climate, language, social roles, values, and unspoken rules are some factors that contribute to culture shock. For this prompt, briefly explain culture shock and list its common causes to help the reader verify if they’re experiencing this phenomenon. Then, discuss how these factors lead to culture shock by offering examples and include some of its positive and negative effects.

6. Is Culture Shock Normal?

To write this prompt, you need to find reliable references such as demographic statistics to determine the number of people experiencing culture shock worldwide. After gathering data, analyze and discuss your findings. 

Remember to answer the question prompt and summarize your conclusions at the end of your essay. Here’s an example statement: Based on research, 85% of international students experience culture shock, and their top problem is adjusting to the country’s language.

7. My Personal Experience of Culture Shock

Share a story of your travel or move to another location where you experienced culture shock. Write about the reason for your transfer and describe where you came from versus where you moved to. Include how long you stayed in the place and what culture shock symptoms you felt. Add how this experience affected you and your expectations whenever you visit a new location. If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips!

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  • Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.