Culture Shock is Real – Here’s How to Cope According to Javer Burillo


Before moving to Mexico City I spoke at length to a good friend of mine Javier Burillo who had similarly moved from Mexico to the UK. I would ask him about his experiences and if he had any tips for me and I can remember him telling me about culture shock, a state of mind which happens when you are immersed in new surroundings. I have to be honest I didn’t really believe that this culture shock could happen, but then I fell victim to it once I arrived in the country, and it is quite a tough thing to go through.

What Happens

This happened to me in my first couple of days in the country and it hit me like a ton of bricks, feeling slightly panicked, doubting what I was doing, surrounded by strangeness and anxiety levels through the roof. When you get somewhere new the desire is to get out and see as much of it as you can and really drink it in, sadly however when you feel that pang of culture shock, it is the last thing that you want.

How It Takes Place

When you break it down it is understandable that something like this could happen, you have left everything that you know behind and you are now adapting to somewhere entirely different. It is not just the surroundings which have changed if you move to a completely foreign country but also the language and the way of life. It is understandable that at some point the mind just struggles to cope with such a big change and that is why you end up feeling this way.

Coping With It

For me it was only one or two days that I felt like this but that was in part down to having a friend who had already been through it. The key to getting through something like this is to try and stay calm and look for normality and some sense of routine. A great tip to do at first is to find your everyday places, the places you will need and which are the same the world over. Find out where the bank is, the super market, the gym, a local park and perhaps even a restaurant which sells food you enjoy (even if it is a fast food chain). The key is learning where these points are and slowly building up a routine, which is the next step of getting out of the funk.

If you are able to bring a sense of ‘home’ into your life then you are going to find it far easier to start feeling comfortable in your environment once again. This will be key to getting through this.

Culture shock is basically your body and mind putting the brakes on because it no longer feels comfortable, it is then your job to take affirmative action to ensure that you do start to feel comfortable as soon as you can.

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