If someone says the word ‘culture shock’ what do you think of? You would probably imagine landing in a country where you don’t understand a single word of the language, where there’s weird religions, different fashion, and strange food, where everything is totally foreign to you. At least that’s what I thought.
But you don’t have to go to a country with extreme cultural differences to experience culture shock. It can happen when you go anywhere, and in a way, can be even more confusing when you experience it because you never expected to.
When I first arrived in Australia I was excited and everything was amazing. The weather was hot, the bars were cool, the people were so friendly, and I liked the wildlife. But then as time went on, slowly without me realising it, everything changed. I stopped looking at things through rose tinted glasses and couldn’t help but become negative.
All of a sudden everything seems a bit shit. It’s too hot, I don’t like the landscape, the flies are driving me mad, I can’t stand the TV adverts, alcohol is expensive, road tax is expensive, public transport is expensive, come to think of it everything is so damn expensive! I find myself becoming irritable and angry wondering if doing a working holiday in Australia was the right choice.
Now I’m not saying for one second that I don’t like Australia. I know that what I’m going through is all just part of the culture shock process and that a lot of my feelings and thoughts are irrational. There have been a lot of changes in the past few months. I’ve gone from living in Wanaka, New Zealand, arguably one of the most beautiful towns in the world, to working on a dairy farm in Blighty, Australia, a little rural town with a population of 250.
But I think that once you realise that culture shock is the cause of all your negative feelings it’s easier to look at things in a new way. All I need to do is stay positive, take every experience given to me, and hopefully it won’t be long until I begin to accept the differences and fit in here. Who knows, after a while Australia might even start to feel ‘like home’.
Typical Australian TV advert