Culture Shock in a Cup

Culture Shock in a Cup

Back in the day when I worked for a study abroad program in China, a dear friend of mine shared a metaphor with me that I feel represents cultural adjustment and culture shock well. He displayed a cup that was filled with water and described how throughout our lives we fill this cup up with our own culture -- our own values, beliefs, and ways of doing things. However, when we travel and integrate into new cultures, we often don’t have enough room in our cups. The key is to recognize this and work on the ability to completely empty our cups when entering a new culture. Let that new culture fill us up so we can learn and absorb. Then, when we travel and enter another new culture, empty once again. Repeat and grow.

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