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Traveling to other countries can be an exhilarating and wonderful experience. When it is, treasure those moments and take lots of pictures. When it isn't... it's usually because you've suddenly realized you're "not in Kansas anymore." What felt exotic from your original home suddenly feels "weird," "uncomfortable," or "downright annoying" now that you're in this new culture. Don't let these down feelings get the best of you and ruin what could be an otherwise life-changing experience. Here are ten ways to deal with culture shock before and after it happens.
Get an "informant" (make friends with someone from the foreign-to-you culture).
This can be the most important thing for surviving another culture, especially if this person becomes a close and trusted friend. This informant becomes the go-to when something happens that you can't make sense of, or if you have questions about what's appropriate or not. It's like having a "local culture dictionary" -- and can be vital for your sanity's survival.
Get a same culture buddy (make friends with someone from your own culture).
This helps in having someone who either is going through or has recently gone through a lot of the shocks you are currently enduring. You can vent with someone who knows what a public restroom should look like. Just be careful not to let it slide into a "hate everything about this country" session.