Culture Shock


2. Whenever someone travels overseas they are like "a fish out of water." Like the fish, they have been swimming in their own culture all their lives. A fish doesn't know what water is. Likewise, we often do not think too much about the culture we are raised in. Our culture helps to shape our identity. Many of the cues of interpersonal communication (body language, words, facial expressions, tone of voice, idioms, slang) are different in different cultures. One of the reasons that we feel like a fish out of water when we enter a new culture, is that we do not know all of the cues that are used in the new culture.










The word cue has several meanings in English. Here it means a word, gesture or sign that tells you to do something. For example, the word "Hi." is a spoken cue that means "Hello" or "Let's talk."

If someone walks toward you with their right hand out, it means they plan to shake your hand. This is a body language cue (a gesture) which lets you know that the person is going to introduce themselves and that you will shake their hand and introduce yourself.

Here is another gesture we often see. What does it mean?


To see some other common gestures, click on the Quiz button and then click on Gestures. The quiz called Cues will check your knowledge of common cues.


identity: noun

cue: noun

idiom: noun

slang: noun