Tag Archives: Cultural

How To Overcome Culture Shock

The term “culture shock” originated in the 1950s. Basically it describes the physical and emotional discomforts that occur when someone moves from one cultural environment to another. There are several stages to culture shock.

In the holiday stage, which is the period just before and just after the move everything is new and exciting. One feels very energetic, enthusiastic and hopeful about everything in life. This is followed by the deterioration/ falling apart stage during which there may be great feelings of dissatisfaction. Things are difficult and one’s excitement turns to distress. One goes through communication difficulties, impatience, anger, grief, and a feeling of inexperience. There is more hope during the adjustment stage. This is when you can see some direction, you are able to laugh at yourselves again and life begins to feel a bit more balanced.

During the orientation stage there is an increasing feeling confidence and a sense of belonging. One starts to make connections within the new culture, and starts to enjoy many aspects of many of the customs and cultural conventions. It becomes easier to adopt these practices and make them part of your life and daily routine. Lastly, repatriation is when one returns to the “home country”. A “reverse culture-shock” is often experienced. Re-adjusting to the old culture is as hard as, and may be even more difficult than the original move.

You can experience:

Emotional trauma

Adjustment problems

Mental isolation

Acceptance and integration difficulties

Sense of separation

These are all quite normal for a period of time. The tips below may seem easy and oversimplified, but they work in overcoming culture shock. If it persists, however, seek professional help:


Don’t expect yourself, others or situations to be perfect.

Have an open mind.

Be active and participate.

Speak to support groups and/or individuals.

Stay in touch with family and friends.

Use Expat Forums on line – they are great

“Culture is the process by which a person becomes all that they were created capable of being.” Thomas Carlyle

The Masaai Cultural Beliefs

Today, most Masaai are Christians and very few Muslims. Traditionally, they believed in a god, Engai who lived on the mountain of God, Ol Doinyo Lengai. They were monotheistic. A Laibon was the traditional religious leader. He would perform for the people any religious rituals and ceremonies. He was also a seer and a prophet for the people. The man was the head of every family. He was the decision maker and the protector of the family. The woman was the one who did all the work in the family.

The Masaai are nomadic pastoralists. They would move from place to place with there livestock in search of grazing land and water. On the way, women would build the homes they were to live in. Milking, cooking, cleaning and looking after the toddler was also work for the women. The boy child was brought up to know that he was the protector of the community. From an early age he would go through ritual beatings to test for courage and endurance.

In the Masaai culture, the dead were not buried. The people believed that this would pollute the soil. They were thrown away to be eaten by scavengers such as the hyenas. Burial was a ritual only reserved for dignitaries such as the chiefs. The babies once born, they were not fully accepted into the community until three moons [months] were over. This is as a result of the high infant mortality rate. After this period, the babies would be shaven and named in a ceremony attended by other members of the community.