Question : I moved back home after living abroad for many years and I feel like an outsider. I don’t like anything over here. The only people who mattered to me were a few friends and they, too, have moved away. To top it all, due to some misunderstandings, my parents and I don’t get along well. Due to everything that is happening, I cry all the time, every night. Please help me! Teentalker , 17-year-old
Thank you for reaching out and sharing your concerns.
Moving to India from another country can certainly be challenging; given the differences in cultural norms as well as the mentality of the people thereby leading to culture shock. Here are some phases that people typically go through while dealing with culture shock:
- Frustration: Focusing on the difference between the country where you were living and India. All problems start to feel big and unbearable at this stage.
- Adjustment: Start becoming familiar with the new culture, values and setup. You will usually experience highs and lows as adjustment gradually takes place.
- Acceptance: The new culture and face seems familiar and comfortable.
Moving from the frustration stage to the adjustment and acceptance stage can be difficult, at times, even more so, when you find your behaviour is perfectly acceptable in one culture and unacceptable in another country/culture. This can hurt a great deal when the people that matter to you the most (such as your friends) start moving away, particularly when your relationship with your parents is a little strained as of now.
At such stages, it is important to get to know yourself and also figure out the following:
- Acculturation strategies (according to John Berry): Being aware of the various acculturation strategies (or the art of ‘fitting in’) will give you some much needed perspective:
- Integration:The individual maintains his or her own cultural identity while at the same time, becomes a participant in the host culture (in this case, the host culture is India).
- Assimilation: The individual gives up his or her own cultural identity and becomes absorbed in the host culture (India).
- Separation: The individual maintain his or her own cultural identity and rejects involvement with the host culture (India).
- Marginalization: The individual does not identify with or participate in either his or her own culture or the host culture (India).
According to the research, happiest typically are those who integrate cultures while still working towards their goals. But before you do that, figure out what is your acculturation strategy and then start making your career and life plan accordingly.
Remember, for you to be genuinely content, it is important to make sure that there is a good match between your values and the values of the environment you choose to be a part of.
Hope this helps, if you have any other query do connect online for chat between 11am-8pm or drop us an offline message.
Expert Teentalk India