Culture Shock In Egypt ..
If you’re coming to Egypt to for the first time, odds are that you’re from a part of the world that differs greatly from Egyptian culture and society.
Despite being a primarily Muslim country (approximately 90%), foreigners of other faiths are welcome in Cairo and are not expected to adhere to Islamic Law. Egypt also has a rich night life that can even rival many bars and nightclubs found in the US and Europe.
Women usually have the most difficult time adjusting to life in Egypt, as the expectations surrounding women differ greatly from life in the western world. Women should take care to dress more conservatively, and while usually safe, will find themselves harassed on the street if walking alone without the proper amount of covering. Wearing a scarf of any kind is not required in Egypt.
Phases of Culture Shock
The Honeymoon Phase
In this phase of culture shock, you will likely view the differences between your culture and the one in Egypt as romantic, wonderful, and exciting. You will likely be full of observations and new discoveries. You will appreciate the differences as treasurable and wonder while these features aren’t present in other parts of the world. Like most honeymoon periods, this stage will eventually end.
The Negotiation Phase
During the negation phase, you will begin to see the differences between your culture and the one in Egypt. Your initial excitement may turn to anxiety as you have trouble rationalizing why things are different. Things that frustrate you be differences in food, public hygiene, traffic safety, and language barriers to name a few. The best way to get over these feelings is to learn how to communicate with the world around you, and lucky for you you’re coming to Egypt to learn how to do just that!
The Adjustment Phase
After a period of time, you will grow accustomed to the new culture and you will begin to make routines for yourself. You will have learned what to expect from certain situations and already know the solutions to many of the problems that you will face on a daily basis. In this phase, the culture will begin to make sense to you and the negative feelings that you had towards it in the negotiation phase will begin to be reduced.
The Mastery Phase
In this phase, you will be able to participate fully in the host culture. You will have adopted the cultural traits that you find valuable while rejecting others. In some cases, you may take on characteristics of the host culture entirely and find it difficult to reintegrate into your original culture. In any case, when you reach the mastery phase you will be a fully functioning member of the host culture.
Tips for Responding to Culture Shock:-
1.Observe how others are acting in the same situation
2.Describe the situation, what it means to you, and your response to it
3.Ask a local resident or someone with extensive experience how they would have handled the situation and what it means in the host culture
4.Plan how you might act in this or similar situations in the future
5.Test the new behavior and evaluate how well it works
6.Decide how you can apply what you have learned the next time you find yourself in a similar situation
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Arabeya Association is Arabic language school located in Egypt and with branches in Cairo and Giza. Our school specializes in intensive Arabic language and cross-cultural exchange programs with a variety of universities and institutions across the world.