Definition 1
Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation one might feel when in a new cultural environment because it is so unfamiliar from what he or she is used to. One might have a preconceived perception about how this new environment might be, but when that person arrives things are so different from what he or she is accustomed to that they feel disoriented and confused.
When I graduated from college in 2008, my mom took my brother and I on a cruise that traveled the western coast of Mexico. Our first stop was Mazatlan, which is one of the bigger cities in the Mexican Riviera. I had friends who had vacationed in Cabo San Lucas before and felt fairly informed on what to expect. However, when we docked in Mazatlan we took a one hour drive east of the city to a very small town. From there, we took a thirty minute ATV ride to an even smaller village. The homes, or huts rather, where made up of wood, mud, and straw. Their livestock roamed freely about the village and were not contained in any way which was not something that I was used to seeing. I had heard of villages like this before, but never seen anything like it in person. The villagers prepared a lunch for the group of visiting tourists, which is when I found out that the meat that was being served had just been slaughtered that morning for the sole purpose of the meal. I was a vegetarian at the time so this was an uncomfortable situation. The language barrier created a peer pressure component for me, and I ended up eating the meal and feeling physically and emotionally terrible afterwards. At the time, all I could think about was how badly I wanted to go home, or at the very least, return to the cruise ship where there was a small amount of familiarity. Looking back at it now, I can see what an eye-opening experience it was to see a culture so very different from my own even though it made me feel uncomfortable.

Definition 2
Everyone has their own set of beliefs and customs that they practice every day. When these customs and beliefs are interrupted by change, a person may experience disorientation, known as culture shock. I grew up in Long beach California and moved to Washington when I was 12. I remember feeling out of place and uncomfortable with my new lifestyle. Both environments were so different to me, but I eventually adapted.

Definition 3
Culture shock is when an individual experience a sensation of confusion in a foreign environment. For example, entering a different country and being exposed to unfamiliar customs, traditions, languages and garments.

In my case, I experienced culture shock when I first moved to the US. When I moved in 2003, I did not know the language and it was very hard to communicate the simplest things, like ordering a meal. For instance, when I visited a fast food restaurants I was not able to order exactly how I wanted my meals. This was because I could not specify if I wanted a burger without mayo, pickles and onions. I would stare at the menu for a while, look on my phone on how to say my words correctly but always worry about doing it wrong. Instead, I got frustrated and ended up eating combos “1, 2 or 3” since that was easier to say or point out. Being there made feel that I was in a complete strange environment that I did not belonged. I always wanted to avoid making eye-contact and did not enjoyed eating my meals there.

Definition 4
The experience of seeing way of life different from what you’re used to.

Example: When I came here to Washington, I first realized how huge buildings are here and how roads are well built. Unlike where I came from where we have dirt roads and not much of  buildings around.

Definition 5
Concept: Culture Shock: disorientation and/or confusion caused by moved from one culture to another.
Example of how it relates to my life: I lived in Massachusetts for ten years before moving to North Carolina. During my time Massachusetts, I was steeped in the accent of the Bostonians. The accent is the main thing that sets it apart from other accents in the Northeast. This accent is mainly comprised of dropping your r’s. For example, most people would say “You can’t park your car in Harvard Square.” In the Boston accent, it would be, “You can’t pak you ca in Havad Squae.” In contrast, the North Carolina accent is commonly known for its southern drawl. Also, the long “i” sound in words like time and five would sound like “ah”. Like the Boston accent, people with the southern accent is also known to drop their r’s. For example, Charlotte, the name of a city in North Carolina, would be pronounced Chalotte. An example of the southern drawl is in the word “y’all”.

Sign reading "hey y'all"Photo of Harvard Square

Defintion 7
Culture shock is the feeling when moving from one culture to another drastically different culture. Some effects can be mild as a quick surprise or moment of disbelief, to more extreme effects such as passing out or homesickness.

An example of this is when you are raised in a family that always takes off their shoes before entering the home. Then later in life you visit a friends house and your friend walks into the home onto carpet with their shoes on. You might feel taken aback a bit and went silent for a brief moment. You never encountered this behavior and it overloaded your thinking. You might have felt like your friend disrespected the home. This is culture shock.