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Culture Shock: Narrating Experiences

Culture Shock: Narrating Experiences

Culture Shock: is the confusion experienced by someone when they are suddenly introduced to a new way of life or foreign cultures.

To the Yoruba people of Nigeria, kneeling or prostrating on the floor while greeting comes so easily to them, they go all the way down and this can be very shocking for a Nigerian who was born and brought up in central Nigeria.

In Tiv culture, the girls bend their knees and the guys bow their heads and that is enough.


That is an example of Culture shock. Wikipedia mentions that culture shock has 4 different stages, the honeymoon phase which is like experiencing the particular action or way of life for the first time, then there is the negotiation stage which is like trying to justify or balance the different way of life. The 3rd phase is adjustment, you are gradually accepting the culture shock and the final stage is adaptation which is when you are not surprised when you experience it again, you kind of expect things to happen that way.

And then, there is reverse culture shock, which is when you’ve been away from home for a while and upon returning, the things which are normal are not acceptable to you anymore. In Nigeria, this is known as “I just got back, IJGB syndrome”

And so we at Terngu asked our readers and friends for their experiences and below are responses we could get and I think you’d love reading these..


Traffic in China and South-East Asia

China is the most populated country in the World, so obviously there are so many cars, trucks, and motorcycles. However, the drivers don’t follow the Highway Code, they deem it as just a suggestion, not a rule. For me, as European, this traffic „system” is a chaos, where the people often do not stop at the red light, break the speed limits, and don’t give priority for the pedestrians at the pedestrian crossing point. In Vietnam and Cambodia the situation is even worse.

 Air pollution, wearing masks

The air pollution is one of the biggest problem in China. Because of this reason so many people wear haze mask. I saw some pictures about this, but honestly from Hungary it seemed to be a „sci-fi” for me. After arriving to China, I have realised that this is the reality. For the local people this is „natural”, a mask is a part of the dressing, like the coat. In shops you can find different types, from to simple one to the fancy one.

Religion, Traditions and relationships in Republic of Georgia

Georgia is a very religious country, where most of the people are Orthodox Christian. Basically this determines  the Georgians life, especially in small cities, towns and rural areas. People keep the traditions too, what influences the relationship between man and woman, boys and girls.

In my country, in Hungary couples can live together before marriage. We can say, this is typical there, but not in Georgia. Living together, having sex before marriage traditionally is forbidden. Of course, nowadays this is changing, especially in the capital city, in Tbilisi

Peter~ Hungary

My IJGB experience In Nigeria

This happened in the first week after I got back.

Where is my receipt?

The first was at the MTN shop. I had gone to get my sim card and get registered, added some extra services and paid for all of that. Since the services would take from 3 hours to 24 hours to become active, I asked for my receipt, just in case I needed to come back.

They spent like 10 minutes trying to find the book and eventually someone had to come out and say eh, it wont be a problem we promise, just go home for now, we can’t find the booklet.

Re-enforcing Road safety

I was going home with my uncle’s car and driver and we got stopped by some road safety officers, the driver forgot the car papers and his license, so we had to drive to the local road safety office to get billed.

The back of the car was full, and this officer asked to sit in the front seat with me, lol and I was like eh! wow! Nope, not gonna happen, they are breaking the law by doing that, no way! Well,I had to go to their car, and the officer sat in my place and we all drove to the local office.

Open Crotch Pants in China

In China, while walking around or sometimes even at the restaurants, you might see some baby butts on display and this was quite frequent. As opposed to baby diapers, these pants are quite environmentally friendly.

Kai Dangu aka Open crotch pants aka split pants Source

Nguper ~ Nigeria

Clinical Practice in Germany

In Greece , when we have patients who are terminally ill, more often than not we do not tell them, It’s very common that someone is dying without actually knowing it.
When I came to Germany , I saw that people always always know it, the doctors tell them always , because they say it’s the patient’s right to know.
For me as a doctor , I simply couldn’t tell a patient that I was not used to it. In Greece the doctors usually ask the family , should we tell the patient he’s dying or not ? And most relatives say NO!
Anonymous ~ Greece
Exchange in Transylvania
In our 4th year of medical school we went on this clinical exchange to a hospital in Transylvania, Romania. On our first day, the doctor was shocked that we didn’t bring white lab coats, we were surprised we needed to. We should have done our research.
In Australia, we never needed lab coats.
 David ~ Australia
Danish Girls
 In Denmark the girls are very dominant, almost masculine in fact and the men are a bit feminine. My experience was that in a bar/club a few guys where trying so hard to get the attention of the girls, it was crazy, guys even taking their shirts off to impress the girls with their body. The guys were grinding their ass on the girl.
So on the bar I asked a Danish girl if that is normal. She was like yes, but it doesn’t happen often. And at the end of the night, I met her again with two guys and she was like these are the two boys I picked up tonight, kinda like bragging about it. Lol

Danish men are normally scared of Danish girls and love to date foreign Girls.

Another, in Denmark couples are encouraged to have babies. There are some advertisements encouraging Danes to reproduce. It’s sometimes hilarious the ads.

Danes love to have big windows and don’t use curtains. When one walks near by, one can easily see everything that’s going on in the home.


I don’t understand why; French people in France can’t understand why foreigners don’t speak french. :S
Everything in Nigeria is a culture shock
Kemi ~ Nigeria
In general this happens to most travellers who stay in a place long enough to observe these cultural difference. It is important to experience Culture shock because you get to open up to another culture and might understand the people more and become more accepting of other people and their cultures.
Comment below if you have any interesting culture shock experiences you’d like others to hear about, Ciao :*
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2 thoughts on “Culture Shock: Narrating Experiences”

  • Coming from Nigeria where I’m used to seeing cars with steering on the left side and was also taught in school to look left, look right and look left again before crossing the roads; everything seemed off to me when I first got to the UK because everything was the complete opposite of what I was used to in Nigeria, it was as if I’ve learnt nothing all my life. In fact, I almost got knocked down one time. Long story short, it took me a little while before I got used to the driving system in the UK.

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