Culture Shock

3. Psychologists tell us that there are five distinct phases (or stages) of culture shock. It is important to understand that culture shock happens to all people who travel abroad, but some people have much stronger reactions than others.


Culture Shock

Phase 1.....Phase 2......Phase 3........Phase 4........Phase 5


Stage 1......Stage 2.........Stage 3........Stage 4........Stage 5


Section 1...Section 2...Section 3...Section 4...Section 5

The word phase or stage is better than section or facet for describing culture shock because the words stage or phase give us the idea that culture shock is a process which is changing and growing, just like a person who is living in a new culture.


If we wanted to talk about culture shock using the facets model, we would be talking about culture shock as a whole and our model might look like this:

Facet 1: honeymoon phase. Facet 2 rejection phase, etc.


We can imagine that a caterpillar experiences culture shock when it moves through the three stages/phases of its life:

The words stage and phase are connected to words like facet, angle and aspect (which were discussed at the beginning of FACETS (I). A stage or phase is a section of a process, a part of a process. For example, a caterpillar spends the summer eating leaves, then goes to sleep inside a pupa and later emerges from the pupa as a butterfly. This can be described as a three-stage, or three-phase process (see illustration).

The word reaction is connected to the word action. If you looked at the first FACETS, you know that the prefix "re-" means "again." If someone says "Hi." to you, that is an action. Your reaction will be to say "Hi." back to that person. Cues are actions that cause reactions. The word "Hi." in English is a cue which expects a reaction - the reaction to "Hi." is "Hi."

Action Reaction Interaction

The prefix "inter-" means between, so interaction means action between. A conversation is an action that happens between two people. It involves actions and reactions.


stage: noun

phase: noun

reaction: noun