8 biggest cultural shocks of all times


The world is huge with so many different ways of living standards. Yes, people across the world live according to their own set of methodology which their specific traditions and culture have necessitated them. They have their unique life style regarding what they “wear” or “eat” likewise.  Hence, based on such an ideology, we all have our own shares and beliefs. However, we may have our differences as cultures which is often regarded as “culture shock”

Yes, it is something, which we have never expected or seen in our lives, which becomes as “shocking” for us, since we can’t relate to their practice. Hence, the following post is all about giving you a familiar angle to the prevalent degree of culture shocks which are happening across different countries of the world. Needless to say that a perfectly planned holiday may get jeopardized due to such shocks coming your way.

So those of you into travelling expedition may have gathered sufficient news about the country of travel, however, the real game begins when you happen to actually land there. Since, that’s the only way to be so close to their traditions and culture. Although, you may feel excited at first, yet when you happen to pass every second, then you feel a sense of fear, confusion or even nervousness. However, you shouldn’t worry. Culture is equally something which lets you feel a sense of belonging to new people and their traditions. Following are some important examples of cultural shock:-

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Cultural shock arising out of kissing

Yes, the most obvious way for people to greet each other in France is through kissing each other. Well, this practice is simply not just limited to France, but it is actually spread in various parts of the world. Yes, we would have been witness to the same as well. Well, it can be a “real” shock for many countries across the world like in many Muslim countries and also large pockets of India. One should avoid such a thing as a traveler who is into such countries of the world.

Culture Shock arising due to language

Although, English is a universal language, yet there are different countries across the world such as China or Japan, where you may not be able to find people familiar with the language. There you should brace up yourself towards learning the local language or at least few words to actually help yourself, esp. when it comes to ordering food, enquiring about certain direction etc. This will actually save you from the frustration which otherwise would be continuously built and you are like “Oh My God”. They have such a peculiar language, which you won’t be able to understand right at the face of it. During your travelling expedition, it is best to have a local guide with you who could better be able to manage things on your behalf, while you happen to feel happy and content regarding the local traditions and culture and importantly, list of “Do’s and Don’ts you should keep in mind as well.

Culture Shock arising due to food

The best thing is to not to be ignorant over the aspect and respect the sudden change of events, since it is actually their culture and everyone is comfortable and fine and you should as well.

Do you know that in south East Asia esp. in Thailand, people prefer having roasted rat with chicken?

Yes, hearing the “word” rat may make you uneasy and you may even head towards the loo to vomit, but look from their perspective. This is something which the locals are having for ages, and it is totally normal for them. What you shouldn’t do, is to make faces as others may not take well. Similarly, in France people have horse meat too.

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Cultural shock arising out of nudity

One of the cultural shocks from around the world relates to being nude in beaches. There are beaches in France which have certain areas marked as nudist for the beach lovers and you can see them enjoying without their clothes on. Yes, girls and women alike of all ages can be seen soaking themselves in the sun amidst the cool breeze of the sea. For first times, it would indeed be a total surprise, as to how, such things can actually happen, but sooner you realize about the practice. I am sure; many of you would be equally familiar about the prevalence of various such beaches across the world as well.

Cultural shock arising out of being fully clothed – Hijab

As it is said in the beginning, there are different cultures which prevail across the length and breadth of the world. Yes, hardly you would get to know the about the prevalence of beaches where women go nude, here is one more cultural shock, but this time it is of a different kind. Yes, I am taking you to a trip of Middle Eastern countries where it is a norm for women folks to be fully clothed. Yes, they have this covering from head to toe which is referred as Hijab. Yes, as a western, if you happen to see them, the sight won’t be devoid of shock. The sight of beautiful women with full attires and going out for their daily professional necessities is nothing new. So, culturally, you have seen two extreme phases of women with regards to their clothing in two different parts of the world as well.

Cultural shock arising out of not using toilet paper

If you thought that toilet paper is the only medium for you to use after relieving yourself, then think again. Yes, this piece of news may be shocking to you especially if you hail from U.S or any other western country, that there are people from Middle Eastern countries who use water to clean themselves. Yes, it is actually true. They are of the opinion that the paper easily smears, thus losing its properties, while you wipe the bum. So, they use hands and water to wipe it and they later wash their hands with soap water. There are various pockets in India and Africa as well who use this method for the obvious reason as they believe that it gives them a thorough experience of cleanliness which they are unable to experience by using toilet paper.

Cultural shock arising out of practicing strange celebrations

There are certain traditions where people harm themselves. Yes, here I am mostly concerned about them piercing their body parts or to the horror and this is the biggest cultural shock that a foreigner might face in India where they pierce their cheeks with rods. The sight in itself is quite scary and one can only relate to the excruciating pain which they would be subjected to. Such practices can be seen in full bloom during certain festivals in remote parts of India. Such sights are quite shocking for foreigners who haven’t been prepared to witness such gruesome incidents right “live” that is from such a close range.

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Cultural shock arising out of specific set of toilets

There is a certain degree of complains which travelers usually come up with, especially when they travel to south east Asian countries and that also includes India, where they happen to get more of squatting toilet  seats. This is can be regarded as another example of cultural shock in everyday life.

Yes, although Indian hotels have western seats mostly and the problem isn’t that serious, but in countries like Japan, where they have the similar toilets which may become a source of inconvenience for those who are into sitting in a western way. Yes, there is a specific set of problem which hovers with people and it creates a source of inconvenience on its own.

Final thoughts

Finally, the best way is to embrace the local traditions and culture. I am not saying to follow them, but respect them while you practice your own. Your actions will actually create a healthy environment, by making the world a healthier, happier and a better place to live in.

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