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What do culture shock and corona crisis have in common?

Between culture shock and corona crisis I have discovered surprising parallels: a feeling of insecurity and disorientation, changed conditions, social isolation.

Many of these questions and uncertainties arise in a very similar way when people take up work abroad. They are not familiar with their host country. Nothing is routine, neither in private life nor at work. So they learn step by step what rules life in their host country follows. Just as we are all currently learning how to readjust our lives in the corona crisis.

Emotional state of emergency through social isolation

The sudden contact ban makes it possible for us to experience emotionally what a culture shock can feel like for people. It is precisely this feeling of social isolation that many foreign workers experience in the host country. They can only maintain contact with their families and friends at home virtually. What they lack is the physical closeness that would provide comfort, especially in difficult times. At the same time, they have made hardly any social contacts in their new home country and live in great isolation.

If, on top of all these worries, there are worries about their own health or that of relatives and friends – as is currently the case in the corona crisis – some people withdraw even further or become depressed. This emotional state of emergency is the real culture shock

Building social bridges

If you are one of those people who retain their optimism even in a crisis, you could share your positive energy with those who are suffering from isolation – with a phone call, a message or another creative idea. In the same way, we can also approach foreign colleagues and neighbours in ‘normal’ times and establish personal contact. Now that you know what social isolation feels like.

If you are looking for more individual support in your personal or professional situation, I would be happy to support you with online coaching via video call. Feel free to contact me by email or phone.

Kerstin Brandes
Systemic Coach & Trainer