“The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people.”-Unknown
Culture shock is a term that describes a feeling someone encounters when introduced to a new culture, environment, or set of people. It was something that I anticipated since I heard that it was a common occurrence for students that study abroad. Being that I am coming upon my halfway mark, I do feel as though I can confidently speak about my experience, or lack thereof, with culture shock.
As a Jamaican raised American, I have had my fair share of “culture shock” in the country I was born in. Because I had been exposed to two different cultures all my life, I found that it has been a little easier for me to accept and understand other cultures, similar to how I would like my Jamaican culture to be accepted. I feel as though this played a role in part of the reason I did not experience culture shock. Another huge reason why I most likely did not experience culture shock is simply because I am studying in an English speaking country that has a somewhat similar culture to the American culture.
Obviously, there have been things that have stuck out to me since I’ve been here. For example, I cannot talk in a public area without being stared at. I’ve even overheard some nice comments such as “Omg I love American accents” and some not so nice ones such as, “Oh dumb Americans”. I’ve also noticed that the cars here don’t like to stop. So all those times I walked across the street in Philly thinking “…please hit me so you can pay my tuition” are now cherish-able moments because they will hit you here… and they will not pay your tuition. One thing that I noticed here that really shocked me was that London restaurants or fast food shops do not put salt on their french fries…like I still don’t understand. Oh, and they don’t keep their eggs in the refrigerator section. You’ll find the eggs located in one of the regular shelves in the grocery store. And of course I can’t seem to find all my favorite American snacks at a reasonable price. But so far, this has been the extent of my “culture shock” while abroad.
Now when I go home, my experience with culture shock make be different. Just the thought of readapting to life at home is a lot to process. There is so much I am going to miss like, hopping on the Underground and venturing off to another part of London, I’m surprisingly going to miss looking at menus and having no clue what any of the items are, and now I can’t really imagine life without afternoon tea and a proper English breakfast.