Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever experienced culture shock?

Have you been in a new place and had a hard time acclimating?

Today we have two special guests on, The Wandering Ravens, to help us understand the various feelings and phases of culture shock.

If you can go into the experience recognizing these then you can work to make it a positive experience overall.

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Recognizing and Adjusting To Culture Shock

Does culture shock scare you?

Do you feel unsure of how to deal with living in a new place and everything that comes along with it?

Today on our show we have Eric and Grace Coleman who are known as the Wandering Ravens.

They are here to talk about their life as digital nomads and their feelings about culture shock.

They started out in South Korea working as English teachers, and then they moved back to the US.

They got the “travel bug” and so now they travel the world and started a global travel copyrighting company.

They stay in a country for a maximum visa stay, which is usually about three months.

They love to travel the world and experience new cultures and languages.

They have experienced so many wonderful places and things, and they plan to travel abroad and live in each place for a certain amount of time.

The hardest part of all of this is culture shock, which is to say getting used to a new place when you are only there for a bit of time.

If you’re only in a place for a week for a vacation, this isn’t much of an issue.

However as they are living in each place for an extended period of time, they do experience a bit of culture shock in each place.

This can be really hard and you might feel homesick when you are trying to acclimate.

Understanding and recognizing these various phases of culture shock can help you to combat it and ensure that you can have a positive experience.

The Various Stages of Culture Shock In A New Place

There are several distinct stages that you might expect to experience when you live abroad.

These help you to see what culture shock is and how it exists or may show itself.

When you find yourself in this new place go in knowing that these are the stages you may go through.

  1. The Honeymoon Phase: You are so glad that you’re there and everything is great. You are viewing everything in your new destination in “rose colored glasses”. You’re excited and feel confident with your new destination and what lead you here.
  2. The Frustration Phase: You wonder why you are there and you start to notice the bad things. You aren’t as excited and the reality sets in. This is the state where a lot of people give up and go home. People become bitter and resentful towards the host country. Everything feels overwhelming and negative here as reality sets in how different things are.
  3. The Adjustment Phase: If you don’t let yourself become bitter you can end up here. This is where things begin to feel a bit more normal. This makes or breaks you, and you decide if you’re going to put in the work to feel at home here. You try to put in the work if you want to make it work for the long term. If you can get through this phase, then it becomes much easier and more seamless moving forward.
  4. The Assimilation Phase: You finally feel at home in this new culture. You come back around and finally feel like a part of this culture. Things are a bit more seamless because you’ve allowed yourself to go through and experience the different phase. You can finally start to feel like this is your new home for now.

These are the phases that you can expect to experience when you move somewhere new for the long term.

Though everyone will have a different experience, you can expect that these phases may be very common.

When Things Go From Good to Bad

When does the romantic initial feeling with a culture end?

When does it change from a positive experience to a negative one in your mind?

It’s often after a couple of weeks when you start to get into your new routine.

If you’re going to be somewhere for an extended period of time and you get comfortable in that new routine, things start to change.

You may be trying to settle into this new routine, but it’s different than you’re used to.

This is when you start to notice that things are very different and you may start to feel frustrated.

The bad differences start to stand out at this point in the process.

This tends to happen if you are settling into this new place for awhile, when you are there long enough to settle into an actual routine.

Immediate differences may be noticed early on, but they don’t necessarily bother you if you’re there for a short period of time.

It’s when you’re there for awhile that you start to feel frustration with the differences.

Though your mind may move towards the negative, don’t let yourself go there.

Find ways to combat this and to work past the culture shock and the negative attitude that can ruin the overall experience.

Working Your Way Past Culture Shock

What can you do about culture shock?

How can you ensure that it doesn’t get the best of you?

There are a couple of tips that can help you to get past this in the long term.

  1. Learn the why behind cultural customs: When it comes to something by getting jostled on the subway or getting pushed in line, you may want to start learning about this. Though these are cultural differences, certain things are considered polite or rude. There may be different standards in place around this. Some things may be socially acceptable in one culture that isn’t in another. You might want to learn the origin of a given custom so that you can appreciate and understand why it exists in modern day culture. This may be new to you, but it may very well exist in this culture for a good reason.
  2. Getting involved in the local community: Attend events or festivals so that you can become a part of things. It ensures that you are not isolated in your own islands. It helps you to feel at home and assimilate so that you can get used to things in this new location. You don’t just stay in your own bubble, but rather you get to become a part of things. You can get plugged in and meet people and start to feel that you aren’t alone. Get out there and find ways to interact with the community. Making friends with the people who live in this place can give names to the faces and make it a far better experience for you overall.

These tips can help you to get over the culture shock and enjoy your new life.

These can lead to long term happiness and create a wonderful new mindset and life for yourself abroad.

Making This New Life Your Own

When you do travel keep these things in mind to help you get settled.

Though culture shock is very real and it can be consuming, it doesn’t have to create a bad experience.

You can make this new life in this new location a positive one if you know how to get past culture shock.

If you can learn to push past the negatives and really commit to embracing this new culture, then it can be a wonderful experience.

Try out your English so that you can connect and become a part of this new culture.

You can find Eric and Grace on YouTube at Wandering Ravens.

They also have a Facebook page by the same name and a blog at to keep up with their tips and ideas.


Starting a new routine in a new culture can be a bit intimidating sometimes.

Culture shock may be inevitable, but there are some helpful ways to combat it.

Now you know what these are and you can put these to good use in your new life.

Work to overcome the frustration that you may feel and you can get past the culture shock and turn this into a truly positive experience.

If you have any questions, please place them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.


Eric & Grace Coleman are a couple of slow-traveling digital nomads from Seattle, USA, who have been wandering around the world for over 3 years.

During the day, they work as copywriters for the tourism industry and during the night they shoot and edit culture and travel videos for their YouTube channel (Wandering Ravens).

So far, the duo has lived in South Korea, France, Japan, and the UK.

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