Culture Shock

4. During the first few days of a person's stay in a new country, everything usually goes fairly smoothly. The newcomer is excited about being in a new place where there are new sights and sounds, new smells and tastes. The newcomer may have some problems, but usually accepts them as just part of the newness. They may find themselves staying in hotels or be with a homestay family that is excited to meet the foreign stranger. The newcomer may find that "the red carpet" has been rolled out and they may be taken to restaurants, movies and tours of the sights. The new acquaintances may want to take the newcomer out to many places and "show them off." This first stage of culture shock is called the "honeymoon phase."



- Going out with your homestay family -




The word "newcomer" means 'someone who arrives in a new place'. There are many words that can be used to talk about someone from another country or culture: stranger, foreigner, outsider. However, these words have negative connotations whereas the word "newcomer" has no negative associations. This makes it the best, most polite word for someone who has come from another place.

"Showing something off" means showing the something to other people because you think it is special. The homestay family will "show off" the newcomer because the newcomer is something new and special in their lives.

A "honeymoon" is the first few days after a couple gets married. Most couples go somewhere special for a short holiday called a honeymoon. It is a time to get to know each other better before the couple settle down into their new life together. Most couples can only afford a short honeymoon, so it is thought of as a short, happy holiday before real life begins. Likewise, the first few days of your arrival in a new country are often a happy time before real life begins in the new place.This is why it is called the "honeymoon phase." This is a metaphor.

You can learn more about the words connotation and association by looking at the connotation and denotation exercise in the Quiz section (opal button below).