Before coming to India, everyone told us about culture shock, everyone was worried how we would manage differences in behaviors, food, weather, work environment…
We did not read 1000 books about India before coming, we did not speak with 100 Indian people or past EduCARE interns and yet we did not really experience any hard culture shock. How is that possible?
We believe that the most important thing to avoid culture shock is to prepare your mind. You must know that everything will be different from home, you must keep in mind that you cannot have the same expectations as in your home country. Being prepared first and foremost means being open minded. If you know before coming that you will experience something special and unique, that some things will please you as much as some will not, the culture shock will be less difficult.
The most important thing seems to be able to say: “yes I am going to India, yes it will be hard but I will manage by being open-minded, resourceful, and ready to learn and change my habits.”
You do not need to know everything about the Indian culture – and there is no way you would be able to know everything – but you need to know your limits, what you are or not ready to accept.
Culture shock is not always a bad thing, by facing challenges and specific situations you will learn more about yourself that you could possibly imagine! Culture shock is real, but it is up to you to get something positive out of it.
Claire and Manon (France)