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A guide to culture shock

Coming to America can be an exciting experience, but it’s important for Au Pairs to prepare for culture shock from being exposed to a new culture.

The adjustment period to such a drastic change in culture usually comes in four phases:

• Phase 1: The “honeymoon”

o This is the period of time where the culture is new and exciting. Learning and observations continue while new discoveries about the culture are made.

• Phase 2: Crisis/Negotiation

o During phase two, an Au Pair may experience anxiety and frustration with the new culture. The differences between your native culture and the new one become more apparent. You may experience homesickness.

• Phase 3: Adjustment

o In this phase, the Au Pair will have learned routines and norms and looks at the new culture more positively. The new culture starts to feel more normal.

• Phase 4: Acceptance and adaptation

o The Au Pair now feels comfortable in their new home and country and can enjoy where they are.

It’s important to understand these feeling are normal and with time, you will become more and more comfortable with your new environment. Being an Au Pair is an experience of a lifetime! Enjoy your time here with your American family, be willing to understand and accept a new culture, and remember, this can be a home away from home.

Posted: 7/5/2011 12:57:38 PM by Site Editor