Well folks, I’ve officially been living in Korea for two months. However, it feels like it’s been a lot longer than that. Time is moving so fast, despite the fact that the past two and half weeks have been a little rough.
Many of you may or may not be familiar with the cycle of culture shock, but this graph will help you out. Experiencing culture shock is very much on an individual basis because there’s so, so many factors that play a part in how you handle a new environment. Some people feel some or all stages very intensely and for different periods of time, while others may not feel it at all. This graph does a really good job at explaining what people can potentially be thinking in response to their new situation.
I would say that right now I’m definitely in the hostility phase (not depressed though), as I find myself getting easily irritated by little things that weren’t doing so upon my arrival. However, despite the fact that the ‘honeymoon’ is over, I must point out that this stage here has been very minute in comparison to Italy. Basically, my honeymoon phase in Korea just involved me saying, “Holy sh*t, I’m living in Korea,” every day for the first like three weeks that I was here. However, working and doing regular adult things has kept me grounded in reality (plus this is my second time living abroad). With Italy, it was my first time for everything when it came to traveling (yes, the first flight of my life was 8 hours going over the Atlantic Ocean) and I was just there for school, which is a hell of a lot different than living abroad for a job. I was way, way up high in the clouds for my honeymoon phase in Italy, then came crashing down about two or three weeks in and had some strong bouts of homesickness. I even had a second crash living there. But by the end of my four months living there, I had to go home and I no longer wanted to, so my readjustment going back home ended up being worse than my initial culture shock.
That being said, I knew more of what to expect when moving abroad this time around. Yes, I’m feeling a bit hostile about certain things right now (miscommunication being the big culprit), especially after a sh*tty two weeks dealing with things at work. But do I feel like I wanna go home? F*ck no. That’s not to say that I don’t miss my friends and family, of course I do. But I’ve wanted to do this for so long that I’m not letting sh*t like that get in the way. I had way more crap days due to work when I was in the service industry. At least this time I’m dealing with students, of which I’m the authoritarian figure here. It’s a hell of a lot better than having to kiss customers’ asses just because the world’s ending due to fact that they have to wait more than 5 minutes for their well-done steak.
The honeymoon’s over, but don’t worry about me. I’m doing just fine.